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The University of Georgia Administration Building located on North Campus. (Photo/Jason Born)

Amid calls for renaming colleges, protests culminating at the Arch and demands for the university to take accountability for its past actions, the University of Georgia has announced it will fund a diversity educator position to expand access to on-campus diversity training, according to an Oct. 12 UGA Today press release.

The position is tasked with expanding access to and developing programming for the university’s 15-hour Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion, said Alton Standifer, an assistant to UGA President Jere Morehead, in an email. 

The certificate program focuses on the foundations of diversity, equity and inclusion work across settings and has seen a growing demand for participation, according to the press release. The university did not respond to requests to quantify the increase. 

The development of the position is the second plan of action taken by the Presidential Task Force on Race, Ethnicity and Community, which was formed in August 2020 to foster a more inclusive learning environment for UGA’s Black, Indigenous and people of color communities, according to the release.

Morehead approved the use of private dollars to fund the position, which the university will draw from the $1 million of private resources from the UGA Athletic Association that Morehead allocated to implement ideas developed by the task force, Standifer said.

The Office of Institutional Diversity will house the position, where the educator will complement existing diversity education initiatives, said Michelle Cook, the vice provost for diversity and inclusion and strategic university initiatives at UGA, in an email. The role will also provide support for groups across campus looking for someone to address topics related to diversity and inclusion, Standifer said. 

The university has yet to establish a date by which it will fill the position, but the search for a candidate will begin soon, Standifer said. The Office of Institutional Diversity aims to fill the position in the spring.

“The successful candidate for this position will be someone who is excited about the opportunity to raise awareness regarding diversity and inclusion,” Cook said. “They will be an educator at heart, who is committed to helping individuals learn, grow and succeed.”

The implementation of the position fulfills the Office of Institutional Diversity’s goal of expanding the capacity of its diversity and inclusion certificate, building additional diversity education tracks to meet campus needs and providing professional development for graduates, Cook said.