Our View: Trustees should reflect ASU diversity
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 18:09
While strolling through the student union during any given school day you can see first hand the diversity in the student population, faculty and employees of ASU.
This diversity on campus is the product of a mission and strategic plan that seeks to “attract, employ, retain, and advance greater numbers of university faculty and staff from underrepresented groups.”
Ironically the governor has not appointed a Board of Trustees that reflects our campus, nor the strategic plan for diversity.
While this group of five comes from different backgrounds they all share common qualities: older, Caucasian and male.
It appears the diversity goals were not taken into account when the governor appointed the board members. Section G of the “Principles of Board Service of the Board of Trustees of Arkansas State University” states trustees must adhere to the university’s mission.
This powerful homogeneous group controls curriculum, university policies and budgeting for the ASU system. If it is vital that we have a diverse student population and faculty staff, what exempts the most powerful positions at ASU from diversity? The Board of Trustees is a position from which diversity can provoke a well-balanced approach to ASU educational policies and practices.
Besides its poor representation of the diversity within the student body and faculty, a uniform group of trustees serves as a reinforcement of norms from the last century instead of the current. It is because groups were being disenfranchised to begin with that the board developed a strategic plan for diversity.
Potentially most disheartening is the fact that this problem looks to be getting worse. Opening a year book from 90’s would reveal the board had both women and minorities represented. It appears while the diversity of the ASU community has increased, the power on top has become more homologous.
Either the governor needs to better scrutinize trustee appointments or the board should change the strategic plan to avoid hypocrisy.
Sadly, it looks like opportunity for minorities and diversity have hit the glass ceiling, or this case the board.