MU students respond to diversity and inclusion efforts

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COLUMBIA- After the University of Missouri's announcement Tuesday to increase faculty diversity, some students question whether the $1.6 million pledge to the initiative is really enough. 

MU Interim President Michael Middleton, Chief Diversity Officer for the UM System and Interim Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Kevin McDonald, and Interim Chancellor Hank Foley addressed last year's protests and what's being done to improve MU's damaged reputation and lack of diversity. 

However, they put the biggest stress on finding the money and resources to increase faculty diversity.

The money the university set aside is going "to be used to bring in post-doctoral fellows from underrepresented groups, bring them here to Mizzou, with the goal of retaining them here as faculty members," Foley said.

"We're going to utilize this post-doc cluster hiring program," McDonald said. "We hope that we bring in potentially 3-4 post-docs a year that will hopefully be aligned with open faculty positions, so that when they finish these two year stints they'll be able to be very competitive for open faculty positions." 

Huong Truong, a junior at MU, said money and the program is just a start to increasing faculty diversity at the university.

"I think it takes a lot more than money to increase the diversity in the faculty," Truong. "You can put as much money as you want to the cause, but it's not going to change it if you don't put it in the right direction and mindset."

With an end goal of teaching and depending on how the new initiative goes, Truong said she wouldn't mind contributing to faculty diversity in the future. 

"If I had a guaranteed position, possibly- high chance, yes," Truong said. 

McDonald said doubling the faculty diversity numbers enhances learning, lets students see themselves represented in faculty, and better introduces students to a globalized society.