Letter from the President and the Provost

Dear Editor,

We write in response to the recent opinion piece by Professor Fels [April 17, 2014], lest our silence be construed as a tacit endorsement of his position.  We strongly disagree with Professor Fels and write to assure the community that the University has no intentions of altering the current Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program.   “Diversity of perspectives, experiences and traditions are essential components of a quality education in our global context” remains a Core Value at the University of San Francisco [Vision, Mission, Values Statement].

The Minority Dissertation Program has served the University well in achieving one of its key strategic priorities:  recruiting and retaining a richly diverse mix of students, faculty and staff [cf., USF 2028].   Given the University’s values and strategic priorities, we are puzzled how anyone can be satisfied that the need for diverse faculty members no longer exits, especially when “whites comprise 74%” of current full time faculty, given that our student population is 57% students of color.

In the face of the acknowledged re-segregation of our public schools, the assault on voter rights in a number of states, and the Supreme Court decision denying public universities the latitude to define what constitutes quality education, the evidence that such “exclusions are long gone” is overwhelmingly in the opposite direction of where Professor Fels would take us.

As we stated at the beginning,  we do not intend to engage in an extended conversation with Professor Fels, we write only to signal the University’s continued and firm commitment to diversity as a core value and the recruitment of a diverse University community as one of its key strategic priorities.


Stephen A. Privett, USF President

Stephen A. Privett, USF President


Stephen A. Privett, SJ


University of San Francisco



Jennifer Turpin, USF Provost

Jennifer Turpin, USF Provost

Jennifer Turpin


University of San Francisco

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