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After community feedback, EWU keeps Office for Diversity and Inclusion

In early March, EWU announced plans to decentralize the office and shift some of its services into Academic Affairs.

CHENEY, Wash. — Eastern Washington University leaders announced on Tuesday that the school will maintain its Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) after feedback from the community.

EWU President Mary Cullinan said the ODI will continue under the leadership of Shari Clarke, Vice President for Diversity, who will also serve as the university’s Chief Diversity Officer.

In early March, EWU announced plans to decentralize ODI from under the administration and shift some of its services into Academic Affairs. The university was also considering a separate plan to consolidate the university’s diversity academic programs into one department.

Cullinan has since reconsidered those changes after listening to feedback from the university campus and community members.

“Our students have expressed how now, more than ever, both of these issues are of great importance to them,” Cullinan said in a statement. “Their voices matter.”

ODI will be charged with focusing on a broad cultural shift for EWU, Cullinan said. This will include working closely with Academic Affairs to ensure faculty receive the training and resources needed to infuse diversity and equity into their curriculum and classrooms.

ODI will also work to ensure that the university recruits, hires and retains a diverse complement of faculty and staff to support students and create an inclusive campus culture. The popular Pride and Multicultural Centers will maintain their services, but will be housed in Student Affairs.

Cullinan has also asked Provost David May and Michael Conlin, president of the United Faculty of Eastern (UFE), to work collaboratively with the directors of the diversity academic programs to develop a structure that is "effective and equitable."

EWU will also continue to host forums, trainings and speakers to educate and engage students and the community at large.

“We have much work to do,” Cullinan said. “We have an obligation to lead that work internally and in the communities we serve.”

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