News Release

U of M advances systemwide work supporting belonging and inclusion

University of Minnesota

Board of Regents will review new strategies to improve campus representation, climate and partnership

The University of Minnesota continues to take steps outlined in its comprehensive systemwide strategic plan, MPact 2025, to actively support a community that values belonging, equity, diversity and dignity in all people and ideas. Mercedes Ramírez Fernández, vice president of the Office for Equity and Diversity (OED), will outline systemwide diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for the current academic year in a presentation to the Board of Regents on Friday. 

Ramírez Fernández will outline OED’s two distinct courses of action focused on enhancing infrastructure for current initiatives and new collaborations, as well as building strategic capacity throughout the University’s many distinct campus communities. 

The Board’s discussion will be the first in a multi-meeting series on the topic and will summarize results from the first-ever Systemwide DEI Campus Climate Survey. Conducted during the spring 2023 semester, the survey gathered perceptions, experiences and perspectives of faculty, staff and students across each of the U of M’s five campuses. 

The University of Minnesota joins other Big 10 institutions in conducting this survey, including Rutgers University and the University of Illinois. The survey was designed by Big 10 colleagues at the University of Michigan. Key metrics detailed in the survey results include institutional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, equitable treatment in classrooms and around campus and satisfaction with overall campus climate. Nearly 22% of the U of M systemwide community responded to the survey, which is approximately 13,819 students, faculty and staff.

With an eye toward improving campus climate for everyone—especially those with marginalized identities who already experience discrimination, bias and racism—the survey results establish a benchmark for future studies and further demonstrate the University’s commitment to measure its progress and make informed, data-driven decisions that support and retain diverse students, faculty and staff on each of its campuses.

Public comment encouraged through Board of Regents Virtual Forum

Following a series of public discussions last year about opportunities for additional public engagement in Regents’ work, the Board has launched a pilot program that allows the public to submit comments to the Board from anywhere and at any time. The Board’s Virtual Forum accepts audio, video and written input, which is shared directly with Regents and included in the Board’s public materials. The public is encouraged to visit the Virtual Forum to submit their comments. 

As part of its October meetings, the Board is also expected to:

  • Recognize faculty members awarded the distinction of Regents Professor. 
  • Receive an update on University safety training processes from Assistant Vice President for Health and Safety Katherine Bonneson.
  • Receive a report on the vision for the University’s Government and Community Relations efforts from Executive Director Melisa López Franzen. 
  • Act on the proposed Academic Affiliation Agreement with CentraCare.
  • Act on Duluth campus plans to shape the physical campus environment in alignment with systemwide strategic priorities.
  • Receive a briefing on sustainable development goals and the University’s progress toward its goals.
  • Act on the President’s recommended 2023 Six-Year Capital Plan and 2024 State Capital Request, as well as a supplemental 2025 state budget request.
  • Appoint and charge the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and discuss presidential leadership characteristics.

For more information, including future meeting times, visit

Media Contacts

Main Line

University Public Relations
(612) 624-5551

Andria Waclawski

University Public Relations