CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray announced this week the appointment of three campus leaders to direct OSU initiatives to combat racial injustice; better ensure inclusivity and safety for all OSU students; and engage the university with diverse communities throughout Oregon.
The appointments follow two months of conversations on the Oregon State campus between Ray and OSU students, faculty and staff. He made the announcement during the university’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Breakfast and followed up on Tuesday with a letter to all Oregon State students and employees.
“Business as usual is not acceptable and we need to restructure some university-level responsibilities,” Ray said. “We also need to listen to diverse perspectives and experiences throughout OSU while we define and implement our action plans.”
Angela Batista, the university’s associate vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of Student Life, has been named interim chief diversity officer at Oregon State. She will oversee a new Office of Institutional Diversity and direct the university’s institutional initiatives and communications on diversity, equity and inclusion. Batista also will work with the new Leadership Council for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity.
Angelo Gomez, the executive director for OSU’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, will serve in a new role as special assistant to the president for community diversity relations. Gomez will focus on building relationships between the university and diverse communities locally and throughout Oregon.
Clay Simmons, OSU’s chief compliance officer, will serve as interim executive director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, which will oversee investigations involving discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, affirmative action, and access and accommodations for people with disabilities.
“We have had several important campus community conversations initiated by students who courageously expressed their concerns of racial injustice occurring at our university,” Ray said. “I committed to them that the university will act promptly, effectively and collaboratively to ensure that OSU is a safer, more just, caring and inclusive community.”
Ray said the appointments of the three campus leaders are effective Feb. 1 and all three would report directly to the president. The university will launch an immediate national search for a full-time executive director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.
A search for a full-time chief diversity officer will follow after Batista leads a campus-wide effort to assess the appropriate structure and resources needed for this important new leadership position, Ray said.
Ray also announced that:
- Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president, will chair an action committee to implement and monitor campus safety and diversity initiatives, and to identify resources needed to fund these efforts;
- The university, led by Ray, will hold quarterly town hall meetings beginning in March to engage OSU students and others on civil and social justice matters, equity and inclusion;
- The university will require online diversity educational and orientation programs for all entering students beginning in fall 2016.