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As Universities Tighten Budgets During the Coronavirus, What Will Happen to Diversity Initiatives?

The coronavirus has spurred a huge economic downturn in the nation, leaving countless colleges and universities with no choice but to tighten their budgets. With these institutions cutting their spending, how will they be able to maintain their work in diversity and inclusion?
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education explores this question and more in its final segment in a series of online discussions, originally hosted by Diverse and CoopLew last May. Join in on the conversation among university leaders and diversity professionals in this two-part webcast moderated by editor-at-large Dr. Jamal Watson. You will quickly notice that the questions addressed in this webcast remain relevant as the pandemic continues.
Panel 1:
Dr. Walter Bumphus, President, American Association of Community Colleges
Dr. Timothy D. Sands, President, Virginia Tech
Dr. David K. Wilson, President, Morgan State University
Panel 2:
Dr. Lisa M. Coleman, Senior VP for Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation, New York University
Dr. Ken D. Coopwood, Co-Founder, CoopLew
Dr. William T. Lewis, Co-Founder, CoopLew
Dr. Debra Joy Pérez, Senior VP for Organizational Culture, Inclusion and Equity, Simmons University



  • What is being done to address minority and low-income students?
  • How do we maintain diversity in hiring and searching practices during COVID-19?
  • How can we ensure diverse employment for faculty and graduate students?
  • How do we budget amid financial challenges brought on by COVID-19?
  • The importance of formulating and committing to a strong strategic plan.
  • Should institutions consider surveying students and faculty to better understand their needs?
  • How can we support international students struggling from the effects of COVID-19?
  • How do we discern equity versus equality in online education?
  • How will DEI practitioners stay relevant in the COVID-19 era if academics aren’t in our portfolio?
  • What is the future paradigm for diversity professionals in higher education?

“What I would say to the philanthropic community is make investments in the students that can least afford to remain in college and cross the finish line, if you want to see, ultimately, a more diverse, inclusive and competitive society.”

“We’ve got to continue to keep our eye on what’s going on with student success and diversity. Because if you’ve got diversity only and you don’t couple that with student success and high expectations for all of your students, it’s all for naught anyway.”

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