UVA's New VP For Diversity Has A Plan Of Action

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

January 13, 2006

In light of the racially motivated incidents that occurred at UVa earlier this school year, the University has taken some extra steps aimed at improving race relations on grounds.

UVa student Alex Rixey just got back from studying abroad.

He says he was surprised to hear of the acts of racism that occurred on grounds while he was away.

"It's kind of embarrassing to me that these things happen at a University where people are suppose to have open minds and be learning," said Rixey.

"In a few of my classes we've actually had pretty heated discussions about it," said UVa student Taylor Savage. "It's something where by addressing it, it isn't a mute issue like it's been."

But students and faculty aren't the only ones addressing the issue. UVA President John Casteen appointed the University's first Vice President for Diversity and Equity. His job is to develop and implement strategies aimed at improving the racial climate.

"We want to be better than we are," said Dr. William B. Harvey, the new Vice President for Diversity and Equity. "It's already an outstanding institution, but institutions get better by changing, not by staying the same, and the changes that you make have to be changes that reflect what's happening in society and the world."

Dr. Harvey hopes to increase the number minority faculty as well as student dialogue.

"We have to make sure that while they're here, they have an opportunity to have those engagements and be prepared to go out and be involved in a multi-racial, multi-cultural society, and an international community in which there are going to be people different from them."

Prior to this job, Harvey worked with the American Council on Education in Washington D.C.

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