By Colleen Flaherty
Rutgers University president Robert L. Barchi on Wednesday pledged $20 million in additional funding for the systemwide Faculty Diversity Hiring Initiative. The current $22 million initiative to hire, mentor and retain professors from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds was set to expire in 2021 but will now continue through 2024. “This extension will enable schools and departments to hire additional cohorts using this supplemental funding, beginning in the 2019-20 academic year,” Barchi said in his announcement. The initiative “underscores the ongoing commitment of university leadership to assist our schools and departments in attracting and retaining a world-class faculty that embodies our dedication to diversity and inclusion.”
Dozens of distinguished professors across the system signed a petition last month criticizing Barchi’s spending priorities. Among other complaints, the professors wrote that Barchi has not sufficiently invested in diversity and inclusion. Rutgers’s faculty union, which is affiliated with the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers, is currently threatening to strike over protracted contract negotiations. Key issues for the union are equitable pay, especially for women and adjuncts, and class size.
This article originally appeared at Inside Higher Ed.