President's Statement

President Robert Barchi
Report to the University Senate

September 27, 2013

“The wide breadth of religious, racial, and ethnic affiliations, the range of class and economic backgrounds, and the differences in cultural and sexual orientations at Rutgers are a differentiating strength for this University and a crucial part of our legacy for the generations to come. While Rutgers has an impressive range of academic and educational diversity initiatives across our campuses, we lacked a comprehensive structure at the level of the Office of the President to assist in coordinating and advancing these efforts. Last fall faculty and staff raised concerns that we were not doing enough to attract and retain a diverse faculty, student body, and staff; nor were they satisfied that we adequately supported initiatives in the areas of diversity and inclusion. As president, I agree that we should showcase and continue to strengthen our institutional diversity, one of the defining characteristics of Rutgers and an attribute that sets us apart from almost every other public research university in the nation.

Acting on these considerations, I established the Office of Diversity and Inclusion last year to provide a robust organizational structure and institutional focus for diversity initiatives, and I appointed Dr. Jorge Schement as the first Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. The former dean of the School of Communication and Information and a scholar whose academic career has focused on issues of access and inclusion for minorities and marginalized groups, Dr. Schement brings to this position a wealth of personal experience, professional expertise, and leadership experience. He will work in consultation with the entire campus community, and he will reconstitute the University-wide Council on Diversity and Inclusion, which will help shape the direction of this new office. On each campus, we are also creating Vice Chancellors for Diversity and Inclusion, who, while reporting to their respective Chancellors, will work directly with Dr. Schement to further intra- and inter-campus diversity and inclusion initiatives. I also look forward to continuing the regular personal meetings with the various diversity advisory boards already serving the Office of the President to help me focus our resources to promote diversity and inclusion initiatives.”