BREAKING: UVM board of trustees update policy to encourage diversity among members

Pictured+above+are+the+25+members+of+the+board+of+trustees+in+alphabetical+order+by+last+name.+The+photos+of+the+19+men+on+the+board+are+converted+to+grayscale%2C+leaving+only+the+six+women+%E2%80%93+24%25+of+the+board+%E2%80%93+in+color.+

Image source: UVM/photo illustration by Kyra Chevalier

Pictured above are the 25 members of the board of trustees in alphabetical order by last name. The photos of the 19 men on the board are converted to grayscale, leaving only the six women – 24% of the board – in color.

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The UVM board of trustees has approved a new rule that would further prioritize diversity among future board members, according to a Jan. 31 UVM press release.

In November 2019, the Vermont Cynic reported that the board of trustees lacks female representation, despite the University having a majority female campus. The Cynic found that less than 25% of board members were female while 59.9% of UVM’s campus is female.

Additionally in 2018, 55.9% of faculty and staff identified as female.

Specifically, the board’s additions to the guidelines are:

  • “These criteria acknowledge . . . the value of having trustees who reflect the diversity from which the University draws its students and faculty.”
  • “[T]he Board strives to include in its composition trustees . . . who reflect diversity in its many forms, including but not limited to gender, race and ethnicity.”

Frank Cioffi, chair of the Committee on Board Governance, stated in the release that the board has thought about diversity for some time, but official changes to policy were needed.

“While considerations about the diversity that a candidate may bring to the board have been on our minds throughout the time I have served on the board, the changes to this document are significant because they commit us in writing—as part of our official board guidelines—to be deliberate in our diversity efforts,” the release stated.

The changes go into effect immediately, according to the release.