UM creates diversity task force

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COLUMBIA – The UM system interim president announced Thursday that a new task force will focus on campus diversity and inclusion.

The UM system will have a diversity, equity, and inclusion task force committee. The committee will develop strategies and plans for the UM system. The committee is based off of current programs, practices, and policies.

Interim President Michael Middleton appointed Dr. David Mitchell as the chair of the new task force.

“The university is fortunate to have an individual of Dr. Mitchell’s stature providing leadership to our diversity, equity and inclusion task force,” Middleton said in a media release.

Middleton also said Mitchell’s involvement and leadership within the community will help address the challenges the university has faced.

Ben Trachtenberg, chair of the Faculty Council at the University of Missouri said, “I think the president couldn’t have possibly found someone better than David Mitchell to do the job.

Despite the positive response from Trachtenberg, one student thinks the task force is just another level of bureaucracy at the university.

“I think it’s probably just another layer, another way to look better to students coming here in the future, kinda like a "hey we’re doing something about it,'” undergraduate student Tyger Ligon said.

In response to that, Trachtenberg said, “I think we need to give people a little bit of time to get stuff done.”

Ligon said, “I feel like, if something’s going to happen, it needs to start at the student level, because they always adopt new changes at the university level and they never really do anything."

Tractenberg said, “Part of the point of a task force is to have someone looking at it from the ten thousand foot level. It’s good to have at least somebody paying attention to what we’re doing collectively to work on these issues.”

The task force will work with committees on the four campuses as well as the health system to understand the issues each campus faces. The group will also develop recommendations and address issues at hand.

The task force is one of the eight initiatives that were announced last month by the board of curators.