- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 14, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - A provost at Purdue University will take over the school’s diversity efforts after the school eliminated its chief diversity officer position.

Debasish Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue, has assumed the role and will juggle responsibilities with the help of two provost fellows or faculty members. The school’s trustees are expected to vote later this week whether to add “diversity” to Dutta’s title.

Former vice provost for diversity and chief diversity officer G. Christine Taylor is no longer with the university, Dutta said.

Taylor’s position was eliminated July 1 after two months of talks with Dutta. She was the only person to fill the role after former President France A. Córdov created the position six years ago under the “New Synergies” strategic plan to attract a more diverse study body.

“We jointly agreed that this redirection of efforts makes good sense for Purdue,” said Dutta. “It has been very collegial. It’s important to understand that it is not a reduction or elimination. It is actually an elevation of the topic.”



None of the school’s diversity initiatives and programs will be eliminated at this time, Dutta said. He plans to “institutionalize” or integrate many of the efforts that were housed under the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and headed by Taylor into the school’s main fabric.

Dutta wants to focus on recruiting diverse faculty members, because they directly impact student recruitment, experience and success, he said.

“(Taylor’s) expertise and her passion is at the student level and she has done very well but we have not made any progress on faculty,” Dutta said.

Less than 4 percent of Purdue’s faculty members are African American, he said.

The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier couldn’t reach Taylor for comment and she has no listed phone number at a Lafayette residence.

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