The University of Colorado Board of Regents has updated its diversity and non-discrimination policy for the first time since 1973, a decision intended to make the university a welcome and accessible place for all.
“I’m thrilled that we’re moving forward with this,” Regent Wanda James said. “I would like to see this be stronger, reflecting our support of the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in all that we do. This is once again the beginning of this conversation, not the end.”
The updated version of Regent Policy 10A was approved on Sept. 8. It contains a commitment statement with new language and requires each campus to report on measurable diversity goals to the Board of Regents annually.
The policy passed 7-2. Support for the policy was mixed, with two no votes and a portion of the Regents who voted yes to the policy expressing the desire for it to do more. Regent Ken McNulty and Regent Ken Montera voted no on the policy.
“I think it’s important to recognize in any policy is that it’s words on paper,” Montera said. “It’s the actions that we take every day, the things that we do … to make our university stronger.”
McNulty said the policy is not in a place where he can support it, due to concerns he and his constituents had with it. He did not comment on the details of those concerns.
Regent Mark VanDriel, who voted in support of the policy, said the new version is better — but still needs work.
He cited comments from the community asking for more accountability and more measurable diversity goals. VanDriel said he would’ve liked to see quantifiable standards in the policy that would measure whether any progress is being made.
The CU campuses, because of the new policy, are now going to set measurable diversity goals and report on them yearly. The policy does not say what the goals should be, or identify how much progress is expected over time.
“Getting more specific about what we wanted is what I would’ve liked,” VanDriel said, adding, “I think we should’ve done more sketching out what kind of progress we expect our campuses to be achieving towards these goals.”
CU System Senior Diversity Officer Judi Bonacquisti led the effort to edit the policy and met with groups to collect feedback, including comments from the community. The entire process lasted about nine months.
The policy was adopted in 1973 with several sections added during the last 50 years. However, the original policy remained untouched. Bonacquisti said the new policy kept what was good about the 1973 version and tried to bring more current terms and expectations.
Bonacquisti said it was time for the policy to give structure and strengthen the system’s commitment to diversity and work to foster an inclusive environment “where people can actually see themselves on campus as a student or employee.”
“I think it’s an important time to assure people in Colorado that the University of Colorado recognizes diversity, equity and inclusion and I hope we can continually reflect that we are Colorado’s university,” Bonacquisti said.
Bonacquisti said there’s still a lot of work to do moving forward. But, she said having the regents approve the statement and say it’s valuable helps provide a path to continue that work.
“I’m very excited to continue to roll up our sleeves and continue to work to make the University of Colorado a place where we all feel welcome,” James said.
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