The University of Missouri plans a September 13 announcement regarding diversity at its flagship campus in Columbia.
MU Interim Chancellor Dr. Hank Foley addressed the University of Missouri Review Commission’s Wednesday meeting at Mizzou, saying he’ll make a September announcement about diversity. While Chancellor Foley declined to elaborate about that announcement with reporters, Commission member Renee Hulshof says it will take place on September 13.
“Seems to me it’s a press conference. The University’s been covered up with requests from all over the nation, like how are you doing this year, how are things, how are things … and they said we’re going to do this one time. And it’s going to be on the 13th. Here’s how we’re doing, here’s what we’re doing,” Hulshof says.
Foley says Mizzou’s diversity is improving among the student body, saying 26 percent of last year’s students were not majority-white. Foley says MU needs to do a better job on inclusion and retention of minority students and faculty. The diversity issue is important to Hulshof.
“And when we talk about diversity, what kind of diversity are we speaking of? Are we speaking of gender diversity, are we speaking of cultural diversity, we speaking of race diversity, what are we talking about? And making sure that we don’t simplify that issue down to a simple matter of black white,” Hulshof says.
Hulshof has spoken to MU Interim Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Kevin McDonald, and says McDonald told her it’s beyond that.
Chancellor Foley wants to double the number of minority faculty members.
Foley also told the Commission that despite 37 layoffs this year at Mizzou, the school’s fall enrollment is the third-highest student retention rate in the University’s history. Foley says people want to come to Mizzou, adding that the school has an “outstanding faculty.”
Hulshof has numerous questions about Mizzou’s retention rate.
“Do we lose more between freshman and sophomore year? Do we lose more as we progress towards graduation than we do non-minority students? I don’t know the answer to that,” Hulshof says. “And, do we lose students from rural areas more than we lose students from urban or vice versa? Do we lose females more than males? I mean, what is the retention rate and who do we lose is a key question,” Hulshof says.
The University of Missouri Review Commission was established under legislation this year from State Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia).