The University of Cincinnati has rolled out a new policy that requires faculty and staff applicants pledge their commitment to “diversity and inclusion.”
The policy comes at a university with a stated goal of hiring more “historically underrepresented” employees, a benchmark spelled out in its “UC Affirmative Action Plan” that calls for more African American, women, and other “traditionally unrepresented” employees campuswide.
“As of July 1, the University of Cincinnati will request a Diversity and Inclusion statement of all applicants for faculty and staff positions,” the university recently announced. “Faculty and administrative/professional applicants will be asked to submit a personal statement summarizing his or her contributions (or potential contributions) to diversity, inclusion and leadership.”
As part of the new policy, a similar mandate has been announced for those simply seeking hourly jobs at the public university, which receives more than 63,000 applications per year, according to campus officials.
Those applicants must now answer the question: “As an equal-opportunity employer with a diverse staff and student population, we are interested in how your qualifications prepare you to work with faculty, staff and students from cultures and backgrounds different from your own.”
M.B. Reilly, a university spokesperson, said in an email to The College Fix the new policy reflects campus leaders’ desire to ensure those hired fall in line with the school’s priorities.
“Asking for diversity and inclusion statements in our application processes signals that we are global, we are national and we want to become more so in drawing students, staff and faculty that reflect today’s world,” Reilly stated.
“The diversity and inclusion statement is one part of an application process that would generally take into account other factors as well,” Reilly added, citing factors such as general experience, aptitude, specialty knowledge, motivation, work history, work ethic and salary requirements.
“We do not intend to assign a rating for the statements but as we expect a cover letter to reflect interest in the position one applies to, so do we expect an understanding of how UC values the ability to work among diverse students, faculty and staff,” Reilly stated. “For any position, any search committee and/or any hiring manager/supervisor considers the needs of the position and the strengths of the candidates in a holistic manner.”
As one of the region’s largest employers, UC has more than 400 job openings at any given time, its website states.
UC’s chief diversity officer, Bleuzette Marshall, did not respond to requests for comment from The College Fix. However, she told WCPO of the new policy “We want to be able to see who people are a little bit coming through the door, and we want them to know who we are, so we aren’t surprised by each other.”
Prior to officially rolling out the policy, campus officials piloted it in their search for a new police chief and assistant police chief, they stated.
Nearly 70 applicants applied and last month the university announced an African American man named Anthony Carter was chosen as the new police chief and a white woman named Maris Herold was tapped as assistant chief of police. Both played “key roles in the reform of the Cincinnati Police Department during the last 15 years” and “demonstrate a commitment to evidence-based and community policing who understand the needs of a complex, diverse urban campus,” according to campus officials.
The new emphasis on diversity hiring comes at a university that touts a 20-page 2011-16 “Diversity Action Plan,” with the stated goals of increasing the number of African American, women and other “traditionally unrepresented” employees campuswide, from faculty to management positions, as it implements “the UC Affirmative Action Plan.”
“We’re all better off with diversity in our lives,” according to Tamie Grunow, UC’s chief human resources officer, “and it’s part of demonstrating our commitment to diversity and inclusion and setting expectations and priorities.”