Hopkins leadership fails diversity test [Letter]

January 23, 2014

Last week, the Johns Hopkins University's board of trustees voted to renew President Ronald J. Daniels' contract for another five years ("JHU president's contract extended 5 years," Jan. 17). In the email announcing this, one of Mr. Daniels' purported achievements was in the field of diversity. Yet during his five years in office, the university's leadership has only become less diverse.

Among the university's vice presidents, there is only one person of color, Charlene Hayes, the vice president for human resources, who was appointed by the previous president. Of the nine vice presidents Mr. Daniels has appointed, only one has been a woman. The other three women vice presidents (including Ms. Hayes) are legacies of the previous administration.

The current administration's record in promoting diversity among those who lead the university's 10 academic divisions and the Applied Physics Laboratory is no better. Mr. Daniels has appointed no person of color and only two women — one of these to head the School of Nursing, which has always been led by a woman, while the other five chosen during this administration to head divisions have been white males.

Although the university's governing body, the board of trustees, elects its own, the president plays an important role in selecting candidates. Since Mr. Daniels assumed the presidency, only two women have been elected to the board and only one person of color, a man of South Asian descent. Currently, the board has only 11 women, two African-Americans (one male and one female), and two South Asian males. The result of the most recent election was that all five new trustees were white males. Five years ago, before Mr. Daniels became president, the board had 19 women, seven African-Americans, and five Asian-Americans.

I find this failure of diversity outrageous on many levels. An internationally-renowned university should be a model of inclusion and respect for people of all kinds. A university that touts itself as the anchor institution in Baltimore should at least take into consideration the reality that the majority of this city's population are people of color. In 2014, it is difficult to understand how this kind of racial and gender inequality can still exist in a great institution of higher learning. What is wrong with this picture?

Julia B. Morgan, Towson

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