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November 18, 2015 – University of Alabama President Stuart R. Bell announced today that he has directed the university’s Strategic Planning Council to include the addition of a central diversity officer and the development of a new diversity plan as part of its work. He has also charged two senior administrators with assessing UA’s current diversity initiatives.
Bell said he has met with numerous groups of students, faculty and staff over the last 10 days to listen and learn about UA’s efforts related to diversity and inclusion.
“While we are doing some good things, there is much work to be done to ensure a welcoming and inclusive campus where students from all backgrounds feel they belong and can be successful. With that goal in mind, I have asked Interim Provost Kevin Whitaker and Vice President for Student Affairs David Grady to review the programs we have in place, make sure they are immediately accessible to everyone on our campus and properly communicated,” said Bell. “I am also asking the Strategic Planning Council to take a comprehensive view of diversity, equity and inclusion as we create a vision for what The University of Alabama should be going forward.”
During the strategic planning process, Bell said it will be imperative that there be broad conversations across campus to capture ideas as part of the process.
The Strategic Planning Council will begin meeting December 9. Bell, who was named UA’s president in July 2015, announced in October the university was launching its strategic planning process.
“Recent events around the nation have shed light on the need for greater inclusion and diversity at all colleges and universities,” said Bell. “This requires that we look at our universities and ourselves with a new lens, examining past practices and renewing our continued commitment to equality and inclusion for everyone.”