After years of controversy and one false start, UCSD has gone to Texas for its new vice chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Becky Petitt, currently associate vice president and chief of staff to Christine A. Stanley, vice president and associate provost for diversity at Texas A & M in College Station, will be arriving here in March, according to an announcement by UCSD chancellor Pradeep Khosla.
"Dr. Petitt will be a member of the Chancellor's Cabinet, and serve as the lead senior executive responsible for providing a holistic and integrated vision on all major equity, diversity and inclusion efforts at UC San Diego," says Khosla's statement, issued January 21.
"Additionally, she will oversee the Office for EDI which is charged to partner with all campus units to address diversity across all areas of UC San Diego’s mission including outreach, recruitment, retention, and climate."
It has taken over a year for Khosla to fill the high-profile position; UCSD's first diversity vice chancellor, Linda S. Greene, left in December of 2013 after just a year on the job.
Greene returned to her previous position as a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin; UCSD gave no reason for Greene's departure and she didn't return phone calls.
Greene got an annual salary of $250,000 and received hefty benefits, including a "temporary housing allowance not to exceed $13,500 for a period of 90 days to offset limited housing-related expenses"; [and] "100 percent reimbursement of reasonable and allowable expenses.”
In addition, she received "two house-hunting trips each for the candidate and her spouse or partner," and "eligibility to participate in the UC Home Loan Program." Greene also was entitled to "a relocation allowance of 24 percent of base salary ($60,000), to be paid either as a lump sum or in installment payments," according to university records.
Petitt, who has a doctorate in education from Texas A&M, went to work for the school in 1994 as the "coordinator of diversity education in the Department of Residence Life" and assumed her current job in 2005, according to her biography on the university's website.
"As an adjunct faculty member, she has taught courses focused on educational administration, social justice, and organizational development," says Khosla's statement, which does not divulge the amount of compensation Petitt will receive in her new role.
"This unique combination of disciplinary knowledge informs her excellent command of issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, in higher education," says the statement.
"Her research interests include racial, gender, and economic inequality, service employees in the Academy, organizational development, and organizational change."
The UCSD diversity honcho's job was created by University of California regents in 2011 at the urging of then-UCSD chancellor Marye Anne Fox after the campus was hit with criticism over a "Compton Cookout" mocking Black History month staged by a fraternity and other racially charged incidents.
But the move to establish the costly position was widely criticized by those who complained it was a duplicative waste of money.
Wrote Heather Mac Donald, a contributing editor to City Journal, published by the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research:
"This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center."