Reorganization draws student concerns
Plans for a restructuring of diversity-oriented programs at CU are in the works, and the change has some student leaders upset.
“There is just such a lack of leadership in the lack of collaboration,” University of Colorado Student Union Tri-Executive Charles Gilford said of the plan.
Gilford and John Ali Sharza, UCSU Director of Diversity Affairs, said several programs will be moved from the Division of Student Affairs to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement. Sharza said students and “a lot of the faculty” were not told of the restructuring earlier.
Neither student was sure of exactly which programs were being moved, although Gilford said that two of the programs were the Center for Multicultural Affairs and the Student Academic Services Center. Gilford said that he believes Chancellor Bud Peterson and Provost Philip DiStefano are behind the shifting.
CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said that the CMA, Disability Services, and the Pre-Collegiate Development Program will move from Student Affairs to ODECE (the Office of Diversity). He also said the SASC, the Office of International Education, the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement, Reserve Officer Training Corps, Special Undergraduate Enrichment Programs, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program and the Chancellor’s Leadership Residential Academic Program and Ethnic Living and Learning Center will move to the Office of Academic Affairs.
The concerns of student leaders over the re-structuring were highlighted a student panel held in the Glenn Miller Ballroom from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Feb 18. The panel was moderated by Sharza and included Gilford as well. It was the first event of CU’s 13th Annual Diversity Summit.
“The people who have been . . . through the trenches are not included in the discussion,” Gilford said at the panel. Peterson and DiStefano did not attend the panel, although outgoing Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Ron Stump did.
“The model of Student Affairs was initiated by Ron Stump, so it took about a decade to structure,” Sharza said after the panel. “This model has worked, and it has created allies, inclusiveness, and networking in diversity-in the the very definition of diversity-not just based on race.”
Gilford described Stump’s “transitional” model as something that “made sure that everything was all wrapped under the same umbrella.”
Gilford also said that there’s a real lack of understanding as to why the restructuring has occurred.
Peterson said that the restructuring was DiStefano’s idea.
“He’s making those changes, I approve of those changes,” Peterson said.
Peterson said that change is hard, which may be why many students have concerns. Peterson and Hilliard pointed to the logic of reordering diversity-oriented programs under to Office of Diversity.
Hilliard also said the incoming Vice Chancellor to replace Stump might not want to have to oversee so many programs.
“We have an unusually large portfolio under the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs,” Hilliard said. “It also has to do with creating a new portfolio of a manageable size that would be attractive to candidates applying for the job.”
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement Sallye McKee, who oversees the Office of Diversity, said that she will meet with DiStefano to discuss the changes later this week.
“I’m working with the provost and I haven’t, frankly, finished,” McKee said.
DiStefano could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Sam Dieter at firstname.lastname@example.org.