George Mason Commits $1M to Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

George Mason University announced this week the allocation of $1 million to fund diversity and inclusion efforts across its Fairfax, Va., campus.

University President Ángel Cabrera made the announcement in a letter to the campus community, emphasizing the university’s commitment to creating an inclusive academic environment. “Diversity is one of our university’s greatest strengths,” Cabrera said, “and we are fortunate to have one of the most diverse student populations in the country. Precisely because of that, we must strive to be an example of inclusion, a community where everyone can thrive.”

The investment will support the hiring of a new director for strategic diversity initiatives, who will focus on developing a faculty and staff that better reflect, and thus are better able to serve, George Mason’s diverse student population. The funds will also go toward additional support for many student services — including those offered through the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education — and institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, which will provide access to resources for an unlimited number of George Mason faculty and graduate students.

In addition to the university’s monetary investment in diversity, Cabrera announced that psychology professor Eden King will serve as George Mason’s 2016-2017 Presidential Fellow. As such, part of her role will involve working with faculty, staff, and students to strengthen diversity and inclusion initiatives at the university.

The announcement by George Mason comes a year after the formation of its university-wide Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council, created to assess how to best deliver on the university’s commitment to providing an inclusive academic community.

According the Cabrera, the 2016-2017 incoming class of first-time freshmen is the most diverse class in the university’s history, with 49 percent from minorities — further demonstrating the need for improving inclusion across George Mason’s campus.

“To deliver on our mission of inclusive excellence, it is imperative that we anticipate and address the needs of our students,” Cabrera said. “This is an area where we cannot afford to follow — we are required to lead. The best way to serve each member of our diverse university community is by investing in programs that help ensure everyone at Mason has an opportunity to thrive.”