A Change in Leadership
As you may be aware, D.A. Graham, Interim Vice Provost of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, publicly acknowledged Monday that he plagiarized a message sent to campus honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
I appreciate D.A.’s acceptance of responsibility for this act, as well as his recognition of the serious mistake he made. Plagiarism is never acceptable behavior – for students, faculty, staff, or administrators.
D.A. has offered to resign from KU, effective immediately, and I have accepted this offer. While this is a consequence that befits the action, it is a sad day for all who aspire to greater diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at KU.
Our work to improve DEIB is critical to our mission and for our future.
We were already preparing to launch the search for the next vice provost for DEIB at the start of this semester. The search committee and position description will be announced soon.
We are in the process of finding a solid leader to step into the role of Acting Vice Provost for DEIB for the period between now and completion of the search. I expect to work closely with this individual as we continue to implement our plans. I also expect the acting VP will work closely with Assistant Vice Provost for DEIB Erin Duran, the DEIB leadership in Student Affairs and Faculty Development, and with our DEIB Equity Advisors across campus.
Despite his mistake, I appreciate all D.A. and our DEIB leadership team have accomplished to build diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at KU. They have developed metrics and priorities for our DEIB work, produced the Inclusive Excellence Framework and Toolkit as a template to guide DEIB strategic plans for each academic and administrative unit, and put into place the collaborative working group of Equity Advisors who represent academic and administrative units.
What I most appreciate about D.A. is his willingness to step into a role that is difficult at a time that has been extremely challenging and fraught, and that he did his work with a disposition of compassion and grace. I wish to offer my compassion and grace to him at this difficult time, as well as my deep and sincere thanks for his initiative both as Ombuds and as Interim Vice Provost.
We have strong teams working together in our DEIB Office, Student Affairs, Academic Success, Faculty Development, Human Resource Management, as well as with our Equity Advisors working within academic and administrative units. We have made great progress over the past year, which simply must continue.
This is a moment for us to recognize that each one of us is virtuous, flawed and complex as part of our shared human condition. I will use this opportunity to remind everyone of our MLK Jr. Day Keynote Speaker, Loretta Ross, Professor of the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College. She will join us virtually at 11 a.m. Thursday to share her important work Calling In the Calling Out Culture. I encourage everyone to participate.
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor