Cal Poly's 'diversity consulting' price tag will make you cringe
- Cal Poly has agreed to pay $243,000 for 38 days of "diversity consulting."
- The consultant will only be on campus 15 of those days.
- But he or she will also be in "near daily contact" with the school for the next year.
California Polytechnic State University has arranged to shell out a whopping $243,000 for just 38 days of “diversity consulting” to help ensure the university population more closely mirrors the demographics of California. The consultant will only be required to be on campus for 15 of these days.
Cal Poly has hired Damon A. Williams, former associate vice chancellor, vice provost, and chief diversity officer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who now travels the country giving presentations on “inclusive excellence.”
“The university’s investment in Damon Williams and his team underscores our commitment to improving our campus climate and culture, enhancing our students’ Learn by Doing experience, furthering our leadership development, and ensuring that every member of our community knows they belong,” Cal Poly Media Relations director Matt Lazier told The San Luis Obispo Tribune.
“We’re talking about access and equity for all students, faculty, and staff,” Williams said. “We’re talking about how we are preparing all of our students, undergrad, and grad to be leaders in a world that’s diverse, global and interconnected. How are we preparing them to live each and every day with empathy?”
In defense of the size of Williams’ price tag, Lazier told Campus Reform that while the 38-day figure is an estimate of total billable hours that Williams believes his work will take, Williams and his team will be in “near-daily contact electronically with campus leadership” throughout the next year.
“The specific source of funding is still being determined at this time,” according to Lazier, although he was able to state with certainty that funding for the work would not come from the university’s general fund, tuition, or student fees.
Williams will begin his $243,000 contract by conducting a “climate survey” this April. Students, faculty, and staff will be asked to answer questions meant to help identify which types of diversity initiatives would be beneficial to the Cal Poly community. Williams will then use the survey to provide recommendations, as well as “preparing students, faculty, and staff through a set of integrated diversity and inclusion workshops, professional development, and training programs,” according to Lazier.
“The university believes in the importance of the work — and that the investment is worthwhile,” Lazier added.
“This is an important step in accelerating Cal Poly’s diversity and inclusion efforts. The university’s investment in Damon Williams and his team underscores our commitment to improving our campus climate and culture, enhancing our students’ Learn by Doing experience, furthering our leadership development, and ensuring that every member of our community knows they belong," he said.
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