Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Schools defend diversity accusations

In preparation for the second annual Plan 2008 Campus Forum, university officials shot down recent rumors that they were not doing their part in making strides towards UW System’s initiative to increase faculty, staff and student diversity on all UW campuses.

Allegations included that the UW-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was submitting the same report as the previous year and the School of Social Work was blatantly ignoring the plan. Accusers said failure to comply with the plan would put the School of Social Work in violation of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, which states, “Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate ? discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color.”

Bill Herbert, Assistant Dean for CALS, said the rumor is simply based in a clerical error.

“That rumor is not true at all,” he said.

Herbert said a secretary accidentally sent the wrong document to Vice Chancellor Paul Barrows. The mistake was rectified promptly, Herbert said, by sending the correct document, which had been drawn in late January.

He added that the school has made significant progress in working towards the plan, including putting together a diversity council and integrating more students of color into internships.

“I can tell it’s working just by talking to people informally,” he said. “Everyone has been doing their parts.”

Despite Herbert’s assurances, Jason Davis, member of the Plan 2008 Campaign, said he was not convinced of CALS’ efforts.

“Last year we asked them questions about how they were doing, and they basically told us they hadn’t done anything yet,” Davis said.

Davis said this instance is indicative of many UW schools and colleges.

“I think cases exist all over,” he said. “Students need to hold them accountable. These schools haven’t put anything into it. This is a huge scandal.”

Herbert, who has been at UW since 1992, said he thinks the ten-year plan is advancing aptly.

“I feel pretty confident that things are going well,” he said.

The “Diversity Vigilantes,” a group of students who wished to remain unnamed, are also concerned with diversity strides in the School of Social Work.

“We are currently spearheading a campaign to increase diversity in the School of Social Work here on campus,” the Vigilantes said. “While Plan 2008 is supposed to take care of this, the university has continued to fail us by not accomplishing the goals of the plan.”

Due to their failure to comply with the plan, the Vigilantes say, the university should not grant the school re-accreditation next year. They also say an R.A. was threatened for having Plan 2008 information posted on her door, claiming it was political propaganda.

“It’s unfortunate that the university’s administration is failing to hold the School of Social Work accountable for this,” the Vigilantes said.

Representatives from the School of Social Work did not return phone calls regarding the matter.

Barrows said he has not studied this year’s plan for the School of Social Work, but that as a whole, Plan 2008 is making headway in increasing UW’s diversity.

“The level of interest and enthusiasm has risen,” he said.

He pointed out that 100 more people have signed up for this year’s forum than last year’s, but that the plan still has a long way to go.

“Are we where we need to be?” he asked. “No, that’s why we need to step back and examine what we need to do. That’s the purpose of the program.”

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