The new vice provost for inclusion and cross-cultural effectiveness

Posted: Jun 30, 2005 12:00 AM
Heads are hanging at the University of Oregon (UO) today. The first vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, Gregory Vincent, is leaving his position in order to diversify his resume. Now, he will become vice provost for inclusion and cross-cultural effectiveness and professor of educational administration at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). I don?t know how they plan to fit all that on his office door.

A native New Yorker, Vincent is also an Oregon law professor. That doesn?t surprise me. Who else but a lawyer could convince someone that ?inclusion and cross-cultural effectiveness? is a legitimate area of expertise? Of course, it isn?t legitimate. Speaking of illegitimacy, perhaps it?s just an insurance policy to keep from getting blackmailed by litigious black males like Jesse Jackson.

Upon his departure, Vincent predicted that ?UO and its leadership will continue to make significant progress toward its commitment to cultural diversity.? In other words, nothing important is happening in the world of diversity, but the university is making progress towards being emotionally prepared to try harder in the future.

That Vincent left his job to be near his family in Austin, Texas is unsurprising. Diversity experts often speak of the importance of immersing oneself in a culture different than one?s own. But, in the final analysis, they prefer to be surrounded by their own people.

UO doesn?t know how it will function without a vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, despite making it for 127 years without one. Nonetheless, they have formed a University Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity just in case.

Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of UT, says that Vincent will lead development of the campus as a more diverse and welcoming environment. Faulkner created the position last year in response to recommendations by the university?s Task Force on Racial Respect and Fairness (also known as, UTRRAF). A nationwide search that involved campus interviews with the finalists concluded this spring.

I called Robert D. Meckel in the UT Office of Public Affairs (and so can you at 512.475.7847) in order to ask these questions about the new czar of inclusiveness:

1. Gregory Vincent recently interviewed successfully for a position as your new inclusiveness czar. How did he convince you that he was better than all the other candidates, given that he was then a provost of equity? Shouldn?t he have argued that the candidates were all equal?

2. You decided not to hire several candidates for the inclusiveness position. Wasn?t that discrimination? Shouldn?t you be inclusive and hire them all?

3. Could UT afford to hire several inclusiveness provosts if they didn?t demand hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in salary and benefits?

4. Were poor black people without PhDs and JDs allowed to apply for this position? How will the inclusiveness czar reach out to them? Do you think that Vincent will demand that all black janitors at UT be given the same salary and benefits he gets?

5. If race is the over-riding factor in determining success, how does one black man become an inclusiveness czar, and another a janitor?

6. In your press release, you said that ?Gregory Vincent is a national leader in campus community issues?? If he is a ?national leader? how come I?ve never heard of him?

7. The university admitted that it was lucky to get Vincent because he was ?hard to attract.? That means you paid him a lot of money to increase inclusiveness. But don?t high salaries drive up tuition? And doesn?t high tuition decrease inclusiveness?

8. Where did your new tolerance czar obtain his expertise in inclusiveness? Was it when he served as an executive vice president of Bank One in Cleveland?

9. Did practicing at a law firm in West Virginia help your new czar gain insights into racial diversity?

10. Do you think that earning his doctorate from The University of Pennsylvania helped broaden the horizons of your new provost? Is that an Ivy League school, by the way?

11. Do you plan to seize the private property of anyone in order to pay for your new diversity initiatives? How many Texans? double-wides would have to be seized to pay Vincent?s salary?

12. And, finally, I can understand why the people of Oregon would fund an inclusiveness czar, but why do they put up with this nonsense in the Great State of Texas?

I really can?t wait to hear back from UT. But, for now, I plan to eat a pack of beef jerky and watch the Dukes of Hazzard. Don?t get me wrong; I like Jessica Simpson. But shouldn?t Halle Berry play Daisy Duke? I mean, it?s all so damned Caucasian.