Letter to the Editor


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Big shoes to fill

The Executive Committee of the African American Council would like to acknowledge the remarkable efforts of Dr. Marcella David, a professor in the UI College of Law, whose tenure as special assistant to the president for equal opportunity and diversity and associate provost for diversity ends this month. We cannot begin to list all of her many accomplishments, which include leading or supporting the Faculty Diversity Opportunity Program and the Multicultural Recognition Banquet. Through these and other efforts, David has advanced diversity and created a climate of inclusion for undergraduate students, staff, and faculty at the University of Iowa. She will be missed in this role.

Finding a permanent replacement for David has been made tougher by the 2008 floods, and the current recession. In these tough times, what we value will be prioritized. It is in this climate that the university administration will make important decisions about a new chief diversity officer (David’s position under a different title). As one of our core values, diversity enriches the entire university and surrounding communities and must remain a priority. Therefore, we ask the administration to particularly remember the many historical and national contributions the university has made in the advancement and promotion of domestic minorities. We further ask the administration to seek candidates who have a clear definition and vision of diversity for this community and who have enthusiasm for creating sustainable programs to retain the diverse students, staff, and faculty who enrich the university’s learning community.

As the process goes forward, we ask all members of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and surrounding communities to get engaged and ensure as one community that the advances made under David’s leadership will be built upon.

Billie Townsend
interim president, African American Council

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