The University of Missouri, which was rocked by race protests last year that toppled its two leaders, caused its biggest donors to retreat and dampened interest among prospective students, will spend more than $1 million to audit its diversity policies.
In addition to the $1.1 million audit, the UM System also plans to spend $2 million on other diversity initiatives, including the hiring of a chief diversity officer and systemwide task force, the Missourian reported earlier this week.
IBIS Consulting Group will conduct the comprehensive audit, interviewing students, professors and staff on all four campuses in the UM System, according to a news release.
“This assessment will help us understand where we stand in comparison to our peer institutions and best practices in higher education,” said Michael Middleton, the interim president, who assumed the position in November after the protests forced the resignation of Tim Wolfe.
In late April, Heat Street requested a comprehensive breakdown of Mizzou’s new expenditures on diversity, equity and inclusion, but it has not yet received a response, despite numerous follow-ups.
Several Mizzou students told Heat Street that while a handful of racist incidents on campus in recent years disturbed them, they do not believe there’s a systemic problem.
Other student activists said the administration had been willing to work with students to address racism, adding that the protestors last fall—which included a seven-day hunger strike by graduate student Jonathan Butler—did more harm than good. They added that the protests not only disrupted normal campus operations, including the cancelation of classes, but also hindered longtime collaboration between student organizations and university officials to improve diversity and create opportunities for minority students.