UNI Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion announced

Picture of the Campanile

The University of Northern Iowa announced today the membership of a new committee tasked with identifying and addressing systemic racism on campus and in the community - with its work set to begin later this month. 

The President’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee will advise President Mark A. Nook on ways to increase the diversity of our students and employees, overcome systemic barriers that impede opportunities for minoritized populations to reach their academic, professional, and personal life goals on campus, and ensure every member of our university enjoys a campus environment that is welcoming, equitable and inclusive.  

The committee will be chaired by Jamie Butler Chidozie, UNI’s director of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice. 

“Given the recent rising of protestors and allies across the nation who are rightly challenging the systems of oppression that are so ingrained in this country, the work of this new committee is critical for our institution,” Nook said. “Our campus is ready for systemic change. We promise to be vigilant in addressing systemic oppression on campus and in society. The University of Northern Iowa must be an institution rich with opportunity, equality and the readiness to embrace each and every individual in our community. As a university, we are committed to creating an institution that recognizes and values every individual for the diversity they bring to our campus community.”

Chidozie, who has over a decade of experience in higher education and is a respected advocate for students and employees, said she is ready to facilitate measurable and visible change on campus.

“Engraved on the wall outside the UNI Center for Multicultural Education are the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ It is time for us, for UNI, to address the threat and pain of injustice. If we do not, injustice will spread,” Chidozie said.

“It will spread as students graduate off our campus, as staff leave for other opportunities, as faculty retire into local and communities beyond. We owe it to who we say we are to act now. I believe the Panther way is not only to show compassion but to do compassion. The President’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee is moving beyond mere words to facilitate measurable and visible change on our campus and in the lives of our community members.”  

The committee was formed after many months of research, listening sessions and conversations with stakeholders. After an open call this spring for nominations, the university’s shared governance groups appointed 15 students, employees, and a community representative to serve on the committee. The full committee membership is listed below. 

Committee Chair

  • Jamie Butler Chidozie, Director Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

University Administration Representative

  • Doug Mupasiri, Department Head and Professor, Mathematics

Faculty Representatives

  • Cara Burnidge, Philosophy and World Religions
  • Fernando Calderon, History
  • Belinda Creighton-Smith, Social Work
  • David Hernandez-Saca, Special Education

Professional and Scientific Staff Representatives

  • Jesus Lizarraga-Estrada, Office of Admissions
  • Janel Newman, Dean of Students Office

AFSCME Staff Representative

  • Cindy Bancroft, Rod Library

Supervisory & Confidential Staff Representative

  • Carol Carey, Rod Library

Student Representatives

  • Laura Roman-Jimenez, Finance Major and NISG Director of Diversity
  • Montesha Carter, Social Work Major
  • Emmett Cory, Psychology and Family Services Major
  • Hallie Speed, Sociology Major

Community Representative

  • Henry Bevel, Attorney, Swisher & Cohrt

Steve Schmadeke, UNI public relations manager, 319-273-6120, steve.schmadeke@uni.edu