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Casper announces series of actions on issues of diversity

STANFORD -- President Gerhard Casper announced Wednesday a series of actions on issues of diversity and affirmative action at Stanford University.

Casper released the report of an advisory committee he had appointed and said:

  • Stanford will re-focus its Office for Multicultural Development on staff affairs, with affirmative action as its top priority, as recommended by the committee.
  • Luis Fraga, associate professor of political science, will lead an internal search committee to select the new permanent director of that office, ideally by the end of December. Judith Little has been acting director since Sharon Parker's resignation in May.
  • Provost Condoleezza Rice this fall will appoint a faculty member to the part-time position of vice provost to assist in faculty affirmative action efforts. The goal, she said, will be to "better identify and attract people who would contribute to both our faculty's excellence and its diversity."
  • Casper will sponsor a series of campuswide symposia, lectures and discussions - "Culture and Cultures in the 21st Century" - organized by Stanford's anthropology department to further understanding of the issues.

In a related matter, the University Cabinet issued its response to a review panel on diversity issues, noting progress made at Stanford while recognizing "how much more needs to be done."

In releasing the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on the Office for Multicultural Development, Casper thanked chairman Al Camarillo and the faculty, staff and student members of the committee. The president said that he and Provost Rice concurred with the directions the committee advised.

"Our goal remains a campus of truly 'interactive pluralism,' and a vital tool in fulfilling that goal is affirmative action," the president said. "The provost and I strongly reaffirm our commitment to that goal and that tool. We agree with the committee that the Office for Multicultural Development will best serve the university and the campus community with a sharper focus, centered on staff affirmative action.

"The provost and I also are in agreement that faculty affirmative action deserves additional attention. We will implement the committee's recommendation that a faculty member should serve as a vice provost to examine and assist in that effort.

"We additionally recognize that this university has responsibilities greater than just casting the widest possible net to gather the very best faculty at Stanford," Casper said. "We will work to lead more minority graduate students to academic careers and increase the pool of excellence available to us and to all colleges and universities."

Casper said he hoped the "Culture and Cultures" discourse would provide information, insight and understanding to guide the more concrete actions and Stanford's future course.

"The work of a university is the search to know," he said. "Therefore it is highly appropriate that we engage in a serious intellectual effort concerning the issues we face in society. Our colleagues in the anthropology department bring to bear broad knowledge on an issue of worldwide scope, one that does not stop at the borders of campus, of California or even of the United States."

The ad hoc advisory committee to the president included Camarillo, professor of history and associate dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences; Barbara Butterfield, vice president for faculty and staff services; Eric Chen, an undergraduate student; Mary Edmonds, vice provost for student affairs; Bill Hing, associate professor of law; Charles Kruger, dean of research; Jim Larimore, assistant dean of students; and Derek Miyahara, graduate student. Casper appointed the group in May to advise him on the future of the Office for Multicultural Development and what to seek in its next director.

The committee stated strongly and repeatedly its view of the primary mission of the office.

"The OMD must re-emphasize its core functions regarding staff affirmative action," the report said, "including data collection, reporting, and monitoring of recruitment, hiring, retention and training....

"The committee recommends that the OMD re-focus its priorities on staff affairs, and further suggests that other ways be explored to address broader issues of affirmative action and multicultural affairs for faculty, staff and students."

The committee also said that the office should have resources to match its responsibilities, and should share with university leaders and the university as a whole goals, support and a strong working relationship. And, it said, the office should provide "advice and resources for all staff members at the university, in addition to its primary role in support of affirmative action."

Among its other recommendations were that the university "should move forward promptly on the review and implementation of the recommendations of the University Committee on Minority Issues (UCMI)."

The UCMI, a 21-member committee appointed in 1987, issued a wide-ranging report in April 1989. Among its 130 recommendations were adding 30 minority faculty members, doubling minority doctoral students, doubling courses focusing on minorities, stepping up recruitment of minority students and addressing staff hiring and promotion. In November 1991, the second annual review panel on Stanford's progress issued its report.

In its written response to that report, the University Cabinet said Wednesday that it "reaffirms its commitment to achieving an interactive, pluralistic university."

"At the same time as we are heartened by Stanford's commitments, planning and tangible achievements with respect to diversity issues," the Cabinet response said, "we are aware of how much more needs to be done. We believe that Stanford is on the right course, but that we have a considerable distance to go in realizing the university's goals. The recommendations of the Annual Review Panel, coupled with activities currently under way, will help the university in this process."

Among the areas the Cabinet discussed were:

  • Faculty hiring, which it called "a source of urgent concern" because of the central place faculty hold in the university. It cited as progress affirmative action plans required of each school; a plan for the deans, president and provost to, "in the near future," review and assist each school's progress toward the goals of those plans; the revision of the former Faculty Affirmative Action Fund to further recruitment and retention; and the report of the Committee on the Recruitment and Retention of Women Faculty, which has just reported its findings and recommendations to the provost.
  • Students. The Cabinet agreed with the review panel's approval about how "the undergraduate student body has become remarkably diverse" and about the value of the cultural and ethnic centers and theme houses "insofar as they provide education benefits for, and stimulate interaction and mutual learning among, students from a wide variety of backgrounds." The Cabinet noted that support for the ethnic centers was on the president's short list of personal fund-raising objectives.
  • Staff. Despite downsizing caused by budget cuts, the Cabinet noted, the percentage of minority employees remained constant between April 1992 and April 1993. It cited a current university study of staff salaries by ethnicity and gender that will enable salary adjustments where required.
  • Curriculum. The Cabinet noted that in the past three years 20 new courses with multicultural emphases have been developed and 18 existing ones modified.
  • External Affirmative Action. The Cabinet noted that Stanford's long-standing commitment to increasing opportunities for minorities, women and disabled people to do business with the university had been reaffirmed and spelled out in a policy and plan approved in May.
  • Accountability. "While education and the use of incentives are always preferable to sanctions, we recognize that if the former approaches fail to meet universitywide policies, use of the latter may eventually be necessary," the Cabinet said.

In addition, the Cabinet reaffirmed its policy on non-discrimination on grounds of disability, gender or sexual orientation. And it expressed encouragement that urgent budget-cutting matters had not lessened Stanford's commitment to diversity.

The Cabinet includes the president, provost, deans of the seven schools and of research, and the directors of the Hoover Institution and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.



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