Purdue gets $3 million+ federal grant for 'diversity in veterinary medicine'
Purdue University's College of Veterinary Medicine has established a $3.18 million federally-funded program meant to “increase diversity in veterinary medicine.”
The Indiana veterinary school’s "Vet Up! The National Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) Academy for Veterinary Medicine” will largely be funded by a $3.18 million grant from The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to a Purdue news release.
“We fear for a lowering of standards that will come when highly qualified individuals are turned away due to a lack of space since they are not included in the definition of ‘diversity.’”
Purdue hopes to use the funds to address what it views as a scarcity of veterinarians focused on public health and "rural/food animal practice,” as well as a shortage in members of underrepresented groups entering the industry. The Vet Up! program aims to address these issues simultaneously by filling veterinary shortage areas "with equity-minded individuals from underrepresented populations and rural areas."
Purdue will work with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and state organizations to create a curriculum for the “Vet Up!” initiative. The program also consists of three separate divisions for high school, college, and graduate students.
“It is very exciting for our college to be selected for this major federally funded initiative that seeks to address an issue we have been working on for several years within our college and the veterinary profession,” Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Willie Read said in the news release.
But the Purdue University chapter of Turning Point USA told Campus Reform that the program raises some concerns pertaining to a possible decrease in standards in favor of diversifying the veterinary program.
"We believe that all applicants seeking admittance to a Veterinary Medicine program or any other program at a higher learning institution should be judged solely on their merit, not to simply fill a diversity quota,” the group stated to Campus Reform. “We fear for a lowering of standards that will come when highly qualified individuals are turned away due to a lack of space since they are not included in the definition of ‘diversity.’”
“While the University should be praised for their efforts to eliminate shortages as outlined in the article, a ‘need’ for diversity should never be a driving factor," the conservative group added.
“I don’t believe federal funds should be distributed based on subjective criteria that describes [sic]‘underrepresented groups,’” Purdue pre-med biology student Emily Faulkner told Campus Reform.
“Whether that be skin color, gender, political beliefs or economic status, I have never believed in a system where people get jobs or get into school based on those things. I believe in a merit-based system,” she said, adding that she herself is in “several groups that people say are underrepresented on campuses (female and conservative)” but that she avoids “playing the victim card” to achieve her goals.
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