April 21, 2017
A response to the Diversity 2025 group
By President's Cabinet
Dear members of the Diversity 2025 group,
Thank you for your letter received by the President's Cabinet and published in the Collegian on April 13. The President's Cabinet appreciates your commitment to diversity, inclusion, multicultural engagement and social justice. Your continued efforts to push these topics forward at Kansas State University are priorities for us all.
We would like to address the many important issues brought up in your communication.
- The Kansas State University Foundation is planning a needs-based scholarship initiative. The Foundation has purchased a software package to track data on how scholarships are distributed and we are looking at tuition models to help us identify options to ensure student access.
- The K-State 8 steering committee, under the direction of Steve Dandaneau, vice provost for undergraduate studies, is reevaluating the courses that are tagged for the Human Diversity in the U.S. requirement. You are correct in stating that learning outcomes in these courses need to be appropriate, and we will seek student voices.
- We continually analyze our retention and graduation rates and have reduced some of the historical gaps between majority and minority students. See this data in the 2011-2016 Office of Diversity 2025 report. We know we have more work to do and see this as a priority. Student Success programs for all students are critical to making this change. We currently have an Office of Diversity Strategic Plan developed by the President's Commission on Multicultural Affairs that includes specific plans for student success.
- Mary Tolar, Kimathi Choma and Bryan Davis chair our recently composed Multicultural Student Center work group. It has students identified from your Diversity 2025 group. The work group is meeting weekly and has just sent out a survey to get input broadly from the campuses at K-State. We are so appreciative of their work. The previous work related to the Multicultural Center was reviewed and is being honored as the group moves forward.
- Kansas State University opposes all types of discrimination. Our Office of Institutional Equity continues to work hard to investigate reported cases of discrimination.
- Recently, Vice President Pat Bosco, Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason, and Acting Director of the Office of Institutional Equity Scott Jones met with representatives of the transgender student community. We were asked to identify gender-neutral restroom facilities across our campuses. We are updating our maps to designate the location of these restrooms. We appreciated the meeting, the candid discussion, and see this as something very important for our campus. We will continue this conversation as we discuss opportunities for renovation and new construction.
- The administration takes your request for a diverse faculty and staff seriously. We want the needle to move on recruitment and retention of those hired at Kansas State University. We are recruiting a new vice president for human capital services and hold this firmly as a requirement of leadership for this position. Your letter shows the commitment and deep interest you all hold in making Kansas State University a more inclusive institution. The administration shares this commitment.
We will soon be announcing plans for our diversity team and look forward to continued engagement and dialogue. We thank you again for your letter.