Saturday, July 3, 2010

Affirmative Action Advocates Consider Recession’s Impact on Diversity

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

by Whitney L.J. Howell , July 1, 2010

RALEIGH, N.C. – Diversity isn’t recession proof, and higher education and corporate officials agreed that institutions of all types must be proactive to prevent the faltering economy from overly impacting one or more underrepresented groups.
That was a theme of discussion during the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA) annual meeting in Raleigh, N.C., on Wednesday. The main question: how can organizations maintain diversity when the bottom line forces downsizing?
“You have to pay attention to what’s happening and what decisions are made because downsizing is an opportunity for inequity,” said Dr. Benjamin D. Reese, Jr., vice president of the Office for Institutional Equity at both Duke University and Duke University Health System. “It’s difficult to develop a strategy around diversity. We all want to create an inclusive environment, but in practice, it’s very, very challenging.”

Picture: Dr. Benjamin Reese Jr., Duke University

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