UMass president taps Walker as equity, inclusion advisor

Hampshire County
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BOSTON (SHNS) – University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan has tapped a UMass Amherst official to serve as his advisor on equity and inclusion, he said Wednesday as he updated trustees on diversity efforts at the university.

Nefertiti Walker, who became UMass Amherst’s vice chancellor for equity and inclusion vice chancellor for equity and inclusion in March after holding the post on an interim basis, will continue to serve in her current role as well as taking on the mantle of presidential advisor, where Meehan said she will “serve as a resource to me as we think through our own strategies in this area.”

Meehan said UMass has distributed a total $300,000 in grants to its Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses “to develop strategies focused on improving retention and graduation rates of students of color.” He said he has also appointed a “multidisciplinary team that will develop educational and outreach programs designed to assure that every member of the system office feels welcome, included and respected.”

Student trustee Derek Houle said UMass Lowell, where he studies electrical engineering, recently received a $1.5 million Department of Education grant to support Asian American and Pacific Islander students. Lowell is home to the country’s second-largest population of Cambodian-Americans, and Houle said UML has experienced “high growth in the enrollment of AAPI students on campus” in the last decade.

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