Illinois State president creates role focused on diversity

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State University’s president has created a new position focused on diversity and inclusion on campus.

President Larry Dietz appointed Doris Houston as the university’s first assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion, The Pantagraph reported. Houston is currently the interim director of the university’s School of Social Work and she called the new role a natural fit with her background,

“Social justice, equality and inclusion are at the core of our discipline,” she said. “Strong advocacy is at the core of what we do.”

Dietz said existing diversity initiatives on campus focus on student and academic affairs. Those efforts often overlap and Dietz said Houston will be responsible for making sure those individual efforts know about each other’s work. She also will seek to measure the outcomes of campus diversity work.

Black students at Illinois State University protested and held a march on campus earlier this year, prompted by the cancellation of an event planned by the Black Homecoming Committee because of a conflict with an athletic practice. Students said at the time that they also had felt discriminated against in university housing and during interactions with campus police.

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