UF launches 'diversity' podcast. Hardly anyone listens.
- University of Florida's chief diversity officer has a new podcast.
- But according to the numbers, barely any students are listening.
The University of Florida's recently appointed chief diversity officer has launched a new podcast to promote “diversity and inclusion.” Each week, CDO Antonio Farias speaks with members of the UF community on “their story of belonging.” The podcast is titled “Level Up on Presence and Belonging.”
Farias said he hopes the podcast will shed light on unity and open up conversations about diversity," adding, "there’s no such thing as an expert on the topic of diversity. We want to hear from everyone,” according to the Independent Florida Alligator.
Despite Farias’ efforts, it is unclear how popular the podcast is on campus. At the time of publication of this article, all three episodes that have been released so far had a combined total of 77 plays on SoundCloud. The channel on which the podcast is available had five followers.
The University of Florida has more than 50,000 students and about 5,000 faculty members. Jarrod Rodriguez, a second-year finance student, told Campus Reform that he doesn’t think most students will listen to the podcast on a regular basis.
“Most people my age don’t even know what’s going on nationally,” Rodriguez said before adding that he might listen to a few episodes but will likely “lose interest after I hear the same recycled rhetoric over and over again." "How much content could actually be generated by pointing out all of the perceived injustices at a progressive institution like UF?"
"Most of the discussion will be broad and argued from an emotional perspective," he added.
Another student, Edwin Edouard told Campus Reform he doesn’t feel a need to listen to the new podcast. On diversity, Edouard said he dislikes the idea of having diversity quotas and affirmative action.
“It hinders way more than it helps. Everyone should earn their place via merit, not through their skin color, or their sexuality, etc,” he said.
Farias joined UF as its first-ever Chief Diversity Officer last July, after UF President Kent Fuchs noted the need for significant “cultural changes that must continue to take place at the University of Florida.” Farias, a former veteran, also serves as a senior advisor to the president and is paid $280,000 for his diversity post. He previously served as Vice President for Equity and Inclusion/Title IX officer at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
According to the UF website, Farias holds a cabinet-level position in university affairs and will work to “advance equity, diversity, and inclusion.”
UF recently received a ‘C’ grade on the University of Southern California’s (USC) Race and Equity Center’s equity index, which measures the percentage of black students to the overall student-age population in the state, the gender gap for black students on campus, the graduation rate for black students, and the black student-to-black faculty ratio.
Farias has lamented the university’s low score on USC’s index, despite other reviews ranking UF as one of the most diverse campuses in the country. According to collegefactual.com, which measures ethnic, racial, and gender diversity, UF is well above the national average in these areas. Additionally, according to US News & World Reports, UF placed 9th among schools that enroll the most Hispanic students, with 32,443.
Campus Reform reached out to Farias for a comment on the podcast and also reached out to UF and UF President Kent Fuchs to elaborate on the “cultural changes that must continue to take place” at UF. No responses were received in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @eduneret