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UM System outlines progress, deep commitment to diversity and inclusion

Middleton address Board of Curators

In his farewell remarks to the Board of Curators on February 10th, University of Missouri System Interim President Michael Middleton reported on the three goals he worked to attain during his presidency: to repair and rebuild trust with key stakeholders, to ensure continuity and progress during his presidency and to launch campus and system efforts to make the UM System a national leader in diversity, equity and inclusion.

While all equally important, among the three goals that yielded the most progress have been the measures the UM System has taken to improve in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.

On November 9, 2015, the board launched a series of initiatives to address diversity and inclusion on the four UM System campuses. Middleton was tasked to address each initiative during his tenure and report on the progress regularly.

The initiatives called for:

  • the hiring of a system chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer and a direct reporting line from each campus CDO to its chancellor. In March of 2016, Middleton hired the first-ever Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Kevin McDonald, to foster more inclusive campus environments that embody a true culture of respect through his work.
  • additional monetary support for the hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff. MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced a $1 million investment that will come from intellectual property revenue to recruit minority post-doctoral fellows who will come to MU as pre-faculty fellows with the goal of retaining them in the long-term.
  • mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training. All incoming MU students, freshmen and transfer students, are required to take the Citizenship@Mizzou orientation. This interactive program is designed to introduce new students to the values of MU and to the ways in which we engage with issues of citizenship on a richly varied and diverse campus. The goal of the program is to prepare students to critically think about MU and to recognize that the faculty, staff and student population includes people from a wide range of places, spaces, identities and views.
  • resource allocation. To date, the UM System has invested $921,000 to enhance progress toward creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable institution through a campus climate survey, additional training for campus and system administration, as well as students, and mental health support.
  • a task force to develop short and long-term strategies at the system-level as well as on each campus. To date, the task force has completed its work and submitted a comprehensive report to university leadership.
  • and a systemwide audit to assess the current programs, policies and practices and commissioned an audit of all UM System policies as they relate to staff and student conduct. The audit has been completed and resulted in several recommendations and revisions to current policies and procedures.

For a full list and regular updates on the initiatives and their progress, visit www.umsystem.edu/president/dei.

“Definitive actions have been taken to advance diversity, equity and inclusion across the UM System campuses,” McDonald said. “As a result of the task force and the system-wide diversity audit, on February 9, 2017, the Board of Curators approved revisions to the Collected Rules and Regulations (CRRs) related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Revisions include improvements and updates for clarity and consistency, the addition of equity resolution process to address claims of discrimination against the university and the addition of a student preferred name policy.”

The full list of amendments, which will be updated online by March 1, include:

Records Management -
180.020 – Student Records
180.040 – NEW – Student Preferred Name Policy
180.060 – Personnel Files

Students -
200.010 – Standard of Conduct
200.020 – Rules of Procedures in Student or Student Organization Conduct Matters
250.010 – Approval of Student Organizations
390.010 – Student Grievance Procedure

Faculty and/or Staff -
310.025 – Extension of Probationary Period for Faculty on Regular Term Appointment
320.035 – Policy and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure
320.070 – Academic Appointments
330.065 – Consensual Romantic Relationship Policy
340.010 – NEW – Policy Related to Family and Medical Leave (moved and revised from HR Policy Manual)
340.070 – Faculty Leave
370.010 – Academic Grievance Procedure
380.010 – Grievance Procedure for Administrative, Service and Support Staff

Equal Employment/Educational Opportunity -
90.050 – Civil Rights Act of 1964
600.010 (previously 320.010) Equal Employment/Educational Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy
600.020 – Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct in Education/Employment Policy
600.030 (previously 200.025) Equity Resolution Process for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct against a Student or Student Organization
600.040 - Equity Resolution Process for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct against a Faculty Member
600.050 - Equity Resolution Process for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct against a Staff Member
600.060 – NEW - Equity Resolution Process for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct against the University of Missouri
600.070 (previously 240.040) – Policy Related to Students with Disabilities
600.080 – NEW - Policy Related to Employees with Disabilities

The UM System continuously reviews and updates its anti-discrimination policies to ensure it best supports our students, faculty and staff.

“I am proud of the effective policies that we have put in place at the University of Missouri System to prevent unlawful discriminatory practices,” Middleton said. “Many of these policies go beyond the protections currently afforded by state laws to align with best practice and standardization across our campus cultures. Individuals who believe they have experienced discrimination have access to robust due processes that focus on directly remedying discriminatory practices in a constructive manner.”

Middleton will retire on February 28 after a more than 30-year career with the University of Missouri. Dr. Mun Choi will take office as the 24th UM System president on March 1.

“On the same day that the board outlined their expectations for me in this role, I gave myself a personal goal,” Middleton said. “I wanted to be a part of building a framework that would be sustainable beyond my time as president to protect our greatest assets – our faculty, staff and students. And, in my humble opinion, that framework is built because of the investments we have made in this crucial area. The framework is strong and it is ready to be taken to new heights.” 

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Campus: System
Key words: UM System,
County: Boone