While community groups extol the superficiality of diversity, Auburn institutions and organizations appear to continue a penchant for maintaining a homogeneous workforce. Diversity is a fake and meaningless effort unless it is supplanted by real change and institutional commitments evidenced by hiring and promoting people of color. Of course, the past rationales of “we can’t find qualified people; no one applies; our pay is too low; our community is not racially attractive, etc.” are meaningless platitudes articulated by folks who find it simple to hire who looks like them and thereby avoiding any majority push-back.
The most recent case is the administration of the local community college and another hire of a senior administrator who does not diversify the community’s college senior leadership. Of course, in all cases regarding public and even private institutions, the final change agents are board members who continue to keep Auburn a wasteland for qualified administrators, professionals and workers of color. At least the Auburn police and fire departments, as well as the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, are making efforts to shift this indefensible paradigm.
It is understood that planned change takes time. However, effort is an in-the-moment action. Community residents should be more mindful of this situation and evaluate change based on actual and documentable data and not intentions. Let’s make diversity a real positive characteristic for Auburn and not just a platitude that may makes some of us feel better about ourselves.
William Berry Jr.