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President McDavis announces reorganization plans for diversity and equity

ATHENS, Ohio (April 5, 2007) -- During the biweekly press conference held Wednesday, April 4, at his home, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis announced a comprehensive reorganization plan for equity and diversity programs, effective July 1.

"In order for us to achieve our commitment to diversity, we must be strategic and use creativity to improve our campus climate," McDavis said. 

The president said the new structure places all of the programs and services that fall within the areas diversity and equity under one umbrella. The reorganization also calls for the hiring of a vice provost for equity and diversity to oversee the new structure, serve as the university's chief diversity officer, sit on the president's cabinet and report to the provost. 

Two new positions reporting directly to the vice provost include the executive director for diversity programs and the executive director for equity services. The executive director for diversity programs will supervise Multicultural Programs, International Student and Faculty Services, Scholarship Programs and Retention, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Program Center. 

The executive director for equity services will be responsible for the Women's Center, Institutional Equity, Disability Services and the new Faculty Services operation, which will work to improve diversity among faculty. The President's Office for Diversity and the assistant to the president for diversity position will be eliminated.

"We want to better educate our students and improving diversity is a key component to those efforts," McDavis said. "We also want to integrate all of the diversity and equity offices into the academic fabric of the university. Since the provost oversees the academic functions of the university, we thought it was a good idea for this senior-level position to report to her."

Other topics McDavis addressed included:

  • The status of the Information Technology budget:
    McDavis said the Informational Technology area would not experience budget cuts next fiscal year. He said the university is looking into ways to increase IT funding. He said the university is concentrating on IT security in the near term and under new CIO Brice Bible's leadership, which officially begins April 16, will begin moving forward on the recommendations to improve IT provided by outside consultants.

  • Governor Ted Strickland's recent "compact" proposal for higher education institutions:
    McDavis said the university needs more time to figure out what joining the "compact" means for the university. "We are concerned about the quality of the education that we provide for our students and as long as we stay focused on that we will come to the right answer," he said. McDavis said there is no timetable for a university decision on the "compact," however; the university must present a balanced budget plan to its board of trustees in June. The proposed "compact" will subject participating institutions to a tuition freeze for fiscal year '08 and a 3 percent tuition raise cap in fiscal year '09. In return for its cooperation, Ohio University figures it would get approximately $3 million next year from the state.

  • Progress of the Academic Honesty Steering Committee:
    McDavis said the Academic Honesty Steering Committee continues to meet and will make recommendations to the provost, who will then make recommendations to him. "I'm excited that the Academic Honesty Committee is working on the integrity side with Student Senate to develop a student creed and an honor code," McDavis said. "They are looking for ways to prevent these types of incidents from happening again."

  • Irish-American Heritage Month celebration:
    "I've never seen a formal request to celebrate it," McDavis said. He said there are a lot of holidays and special months, weeks and days that are celebrated, so someone would have to make a formal request to Student Affairs before it would be considered. March is Irish-American Heritage Month. 

McDavis' next regularly scheduled press conference on campus will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, in Cutler Hall.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, 740-597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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