Utah State University forms new division, focused on diversity, equity and inclusion

Utah State University forms new division, focused on diversity, equity and inclusion
Utah State University forms new division, focused on diversity, equity and inclusion

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LOGAN — Utah State University is pushing for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion with an all-new department bearing that name.

As USU’s First Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Jane Irungu is forming a Diversity Council that will be comprised of staff, faculty, and students.

“What I’m looking for is a culture change in the way we do things, the way we interact with others,” Irungu said.

Jane Irungu was named senior vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Utah State University in May. (Photo: Utah State University)

Irungu held similar positions at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Oregon before joining USU. She was born and raised in Kenya, where she later served as a teacher and school principal.

She said equity and inclusion in Utah must be contextualized within the history of our country, examining the progress of the civil rights movement and the history of discrimination against certain groups.

“It’s practices, systems, ways of doing things that we get to make sure that every person has their voice, that our program is diverse,” Irungu said.

She said these efforts are not political. They will need everyone’s help to make a culture change here.

“It shouldn’t be controversial to treat people fairly. It should not be controversial to have fair practices,” Irungu explained, adding that we cannot forget where we come from and how far we have come.

“Equity and inclusion must also be contextualized in America’s history,” Irungu said. “The history of civil rights, the history of the discrimination of certain groups.”

But she does not want these problems to hinder the growth and development of the country.

“Your past experiences should not dictate your future. It really should be an opportunity for a better future.”

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Mike Anderson is often his own photographer, filming and editing most of his stories. He arrived at KSL in April 2011 after working for several years in various media outlets.

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