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SUNY aims to increase diversity and inclusivity


In response to a wave of minority student protests at universities across the country, like at Ithaca College, the State University of New York (SUNY) is enacting mandatory reforms meant to create a more inclusive and diverse environment.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced Monday at the annual State of the University Address that the system's 64 campuses will be required to appoint a chief diversity officer over the next year. In addition, staff will complete cultural competency training and each campus will be required to submit its progress annually.

"Every policy decision we make as a system will ensure that while every student and staff member who comes to SUNY may have their ideas challenged, their safety, their dignity and their sense of belonging can’t never be at risk," Zimpher said. "This commitment must be palpable on every campus."

Zimpher said the move history of SUNY, which initially took students who were excluded by other universities.

"SUNY was founded on the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. This is our bedrock," Zimpher said. "We were founded to create opportunity for the growing legion of Americans who wanted or needed access to college, but couldn’t get it because of the color of their skin or the religion they practiced or the sound of their name or the simple fact that she wasn’t a he."

Increased inclusiveness and diversity are one of three indicators of forward momentum Zimpher outlined in her address. SUNY is also launching an online database, Intern Shop, where businesses can list paid internship opportunities. And, the university is sharing with the public a new set of performance metrics across five categorie, like completion rates and engagement with partners in the private and public sectors.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.