Columbia University announced its pledging to spend at least $100 million over the next five years on efforts to diversify the ethnic and gender makeup of its staff.
The school didn’t specify where it’ll get its funds from, stating only that contributions from the university would be “matched by investments from individual schools and their academic departments.” There’s no word on whether tuition fees will be used to pay for the initiative.
Emails obtained by Campus Reform on October 13 state that the funds will be used to raise the number of professors at the Ivy League institution who come from backgrounds that “traditionally have been underrepresented.”
“It is a fundamental premise of modern U.S. higher education, and it is most certainly true of Columbia University, that scholarship and teaching are strengthened immeasurably by having a diverse faculty and student body,” Columbia president Lee Bollinger stated.
He added that while the university has taken steps to increase its diversity in the past, none of them are as important as “the commitment of financial resources to this end,” noting that the school had already spent $85 million on the effort since 2005.
Bollinger described the effort as a “shared collaboration” with contributions from the university and its various departments.
“Each of our schools is dedicated to using these resources for recruiting the most talented faculty, retaining our diverse community, and supporting critical research,” he stated, noting that it was important “especially at this moment,” presumably referring to the current political climate.
Columbia University has been proactive in its support of social justice initiatives. In late July, the university hosted a teachers conference to tackle “whiteness” and “microaggerssions” in the classroom.
Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter.