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

Aug 31, 2022, 6:35 PM | Updated: Sep 1, 2022, 6:48 pm

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

Doctor Jane Irungu is forming a diversity council that will be made up of staff, faculty, and students as USU’s first-ever Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

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

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

She said equity and inclusion here in Utah has to be contextualized within the history of our country by looking at the progress of the civil rights movement and the history of discrimination against certain groups.

“These are practices, systems, ways of doing things that we get to make sure that every single person has their voice included, that our curriculum is diverse,” Irungu said.

She said these efforts are not political. They’ll need everyone’s help in making a culture change here.

“It should not be controversial to treat people fairly. It should not be controversial to have equitable practices,” Irungu explained.

She said we can’t forget where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.

“Equity and inclusion also really has to be contextualized within the history of America,” Irungu said. “The history of the civil rights, the history of discrimination of some groups.”

But she doesn’t want these issues to impede growing and moving forward as a country.

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

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