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USF shakes up its diversity practices

The University of South Florida is stepping up efforts to create a diverse campus for employees and students, expanding its Office of Diversity and Inclusion and creating the job of Chief Diversity Officer.

Monday, USF president Judy Genshaft gave the title to Jose E. Hernandez. Hernandez is a former USF employee who left the school in 2008 to become Associate Provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion for the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Before that, he was USF's Director of Diversity and Inclusion from 2002 to 2008, and coordinator of USF's McNair Scholars Program for graduate students from 2000 to 2002.

His job will be to oversee all diversity efforts, make sure a wide range of professors are getting hired and placed on tenure tracks and come up with programs to help students and staff from all walks get along. All the university's diversity celebrations – gay pride, Hispanic heritage, recognitions of senior citizens, for example – will fall under Hernandez's lead.

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A year ago, Genshaft made the call to hire outside firm Virtcom Consulting to review the school's diversity practices. Virtcom is still in the process of making suggestions for the school and should have a full report in 30 days, which Gradebook will get when it's available.

USF has rules against discrimination based on "race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status and gender identity and expression." While it expands diversity programs, the school's system for logging discrimination complaints will stay in place.