Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Vice provost decision overdue

Nearly four months after the three finalists were announced,
the University of Wisconsin still does not have a new vice provost of diversity
and climate.

According to Michael Thornton, chair of the Search and
Screen Committee that nominated the candidates, UW has been without a vice
provost for diversity and climate for the entire school year. He said the
position has been vacant since Bernice Durand, who formerly held the position,
retired at the end of summer 2007.

Thornton added there has also been no interim staffer to
fill the position.


The finalists selected by the committee were Kenneth
Durgans, vice provost for institute diversity at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute in Troy, N.Y.; Damon Williams, assistant vice provost for
multicultural affairs at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn.; and
Seema Kapani, the current UW diversity education coordinator.

The finalist announcement was made Nov. 7.

More than two months later, UW spokesperson John Lucas said
in an e-mail Jan. 31 the university was nearing the end of the search.

?UW-Madison is in the final stages of the Vice Provost for
Diversity and Climate search,? Lucas said in the e-mail. ?We expect to have an
announcement soon.?

That same day, Kapani told The Badger Herald she had not
been contacted by the Provost?s Office about the position.

?When you find out, let me know,? Kapani said.

Damon Williams would not speak about the state of the
search. The only contact with UW he mentioned in an e-mail was the visits he
made to the campus in December.

?I had a great series of meetings during my visit to
UW-Madison,? Williams said. ?However, it is a position of the Provost?s Office,
and at this point I believe that updates on the status of the search should be
left to Provost Farrell.?

Kenneth Durgans had not responded to attempts to reach him
by phone or e-mail as of Tuesday.

Thornton said Tuesday UW is currently involved in
negotiations regarding the position. He would not comment on the nature of the
negotiations or discuss who is involved.

He added he does not know the reasons why a replacement for
Durand has not been named yet.

Members of the Provost?s Office had no comment on the topic
as of press time Tuesday.

According to a UW statement, the role of the vice provost is
to ?promote the recruitment and retention of minority faculty, staff and
students? as well as to create a ?positive environment for living, learning and

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