|UA Announces Steps to Further Recognize Its African-American History|
TUSCALOOSA, Ala., April 15, 2004 – The University of Alabama academic community is taking several steps to more formally recognize the African-American history of its campus and by the fall 2004 semester will establish an administrative unit focusing on diversity and inclusiveness issues, UA President Robert E. Witt announced today.
“The University has made dramatic progress in recent decades,” Witt said. “The progress we have made is because we are a community. The progress that is to be made in the future will come from the strength of this community.”
Witt’s comments also included praise for the students who formed the Coalition for Change and developed a proposal to “help make the campus a more welcoming and culturally diverse institution.”
Among the steps announced are:
Witt said UA is strongly committed to the continuation of its targeted hire program, designed to increase the number of minority faculty and administrators. Since 1991, the number of UA senior administrators who are African-American has grown from 2 percent to 9 percent.
“Have we made progress?” Witt asked. “Yes. Have we made sufficient progress? No. Are we committed to making an aggressive effort to continue to increase the numbers of African-American administrators, staff members and faculty? Yes.”
Witt said he had originally planned to announce steps toward promoting diversity as part of his address at the spring faculty/staff meeting April 21, but representatives of the student-formed Coalition for Change presented a proposal this week and asked for a quick response. He met with the students this morning. The student leaders and the president then met with the news media to discuss details of the plan. Witt commended the outstanding leadership of the students involved, Rondee Gaines, Zenobia Harris and Robert Turner.