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ISU hopes to address diversity complaints with new position

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NORMAL (WEEK) -- In the Fall 2019 semester, many Illinois State University students joined a campus protest, accusing the university of disregarding its black students.

Now the university is taking steps to address those issues.

The issue came to light after the Black Homecoming Committee claimed their event was kicked out of a gym for in favor of a volleyball practice, all because of some paperwork mistakes.

The President's Office began brainstorming ideas on how to make them feel heard.

Earlier this week, President Larry Dietz announced a new position to help create a more inclusive campus.

Dietz named Dr. Doris Houston as the new Interim Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion.

Dr. Houston will have a direct impact on faculty, staff, and student decisions, and will be able to bring students' concerns directly to decision-makers.

She says the Black Student Union's protest was a wake up call for ISU's administration.

"I'm really pleased that we've taken the steps to engage and embrace our students who have pointed out some serious harms and concern, instead of sending them away, or ignoring, or even explaining away their needs," Dr. Houston said.

Even though the initial concerns about diversity were sparked by the Black Student Union, Dr. Houston says she will also be a liaison for Hispanic, LGBTQ, and other minority student groups.

She will also be the middleman for the President's Office if students have any issues that need to be heard.

Sheridan Swathwood

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