As of July 1, Purdue University no longer has a dedicated chief diversity officer (CDO) position. Purdue Provost Debasish Dutta has assumed the role of former CDO G. Christine Taylor.
According to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, no diversity programs will be eliminated at this time, and Dutta says he plans to integrate the Division of Diversity and Inclusion’s efforts and initiatives “into the main fabric or institution of Purdue.” Additionally, the division will now be housed under the Office of the Provost.
Taylor had been the university’s first CDO. She was appointed to the post six years ago by then-President France A. Córdova.
The Lafayette Journal & Courier also reports that Dutta plans to recruit a more diverse faculty, as well as maintain the university’s strategic plan to attract a more diverse student body.
Benjamin Reese Jr., vice president for institutional equity at Duke University and president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), responded to the news in an email to the press, saying:
“I’m suspect when a role as critical as the chief diversity officer is merged with another senior executive role. It’s like eliminating a chief financial officer and saying the president will now oversee university finances. With the diversity challenges our country and higher education are currently experiencing, it seems like a time when institutions most certainly should be looking to the chief diversity officer for guidance, not diluting the role.”
Reese also said that he could not comment on a specific university’s policy.