The Maneater

UM System announces independent audit of diversity policies

The audit, which will be finished by the end of 2016, will include input from administrators, faculty, staff and students.

On Monday, interim UM System President Mike Middleton announced that a systemwide audit will take place to review and analyze current diversity and inclusion policies.

In a joint email sent to faculty, staff and students signed by Middleton and all four campus chancellors, the administrators said the audit will allow the UM System to “examine and create a comprehensive assessment and inventory of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies, practices, programs, and procedures” across the system. Using data they obtain, auditors will give the Board of Curators a series of recommendations addressing how administrators can move forward using “sustainable solutions.”

“Our goal is to conduct a critical and honest assessment so we can strengthen and coordinate our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion,” the administrators said in the email. “We need to know where we stand in comparison to our peer institutions and best practices across higher education.”

The audit is a part of a series of diversity initiatives launched by the Board of Curators in November to address the campus racial climate following former UM System President Tim Wolfe and former MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin’s resignations. With the audit, the administrators wrote in their email, “we are truly building on the good work happening at each campus, recognizing there is still more to do.”

Relying on input from administrators, faculty, staff and students, the independent firm Interactive Business Inclusion Solutions Consulting Group will conduct the audit. Focus groups, interviews and surveys will be conducted to comprehensively assess current policies and diversity initiatives, the administrators said in the email.

IBIS Consulting Group specializes in “improving individual and organizational performance by leveraging the potential of diversity and inclusion,” according to the Massachusetts firm’s website. The firm’s clients include Fortune 100 companies and other higher education institutions.

In the email, the administrators said that more information will be sent to faculty, staff and students in the coming weeks. The goal is for the audit to be completed and recommendations given to the board by the end of 2016.

“Together, we will move forward to provide future generations with a stronger and more vibrant university community,” the administrators said in the email.

Edited by Jeremiah Wooten | jwooten@themaneater.com

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