Northeastern hires first-ever 'chief inclusion officer'...while hiking tuition 3.7 percent

Northeastern University hired its first “Chief Inclusion Officer” — even after it raised tuition by 3.5 percent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other top universities hired diversity czars in the face of massive budget deficits.

Northeastern University hired its first “Chief Inclusion Officer,” even after it raised tuition by 3.5 percent in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On February 9, university president Joseph Aoun announced that Karl Reid, who had previously served as executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers, would assume the new position.

“He will serve as a catalyst towards promoting a culture of inclusion and creating a learning and working environment where all members of the university community have an opportunity to succeed,” wrote Aoun. “This is a cabinet-level position and will join the university leadership in its regular discussions.”

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Reid’s hire occurs despite Northeastern University hiking its tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year.

In July, the university announced that undergraduate tuition would equate to $54,360 — an increase of 3.7 percent from the prior year. Room and board — which costs $17,480 — also rose by 3.2 percent.

Luke Abbatessa -- a freshman at Northeastern -- told Campus Reform that “whether we like it or not, each of us are racist and hold racial stereotypes and implicit biases of others.” He explained that there exists a bias toward White men in his chosen major of marine biology.

Though he does not see the hire of a Chief Inclusion Officer as a “dire need,” Abbatessa said that it “provides a framework for the university to begin or continue developing DEI policies in an attempt to further represent BIPOC.”

Campus Reform has reported on several instances of universities hiring diversity czars in spite of financial challenges wrought by COVID-19.

The University of Pennsylvania, for instance, hired a “Vice President for Social Equity and Community” three months after it expressed concern over budgetary pitfalls. Unlike Northeastern, however, Penn reversed previous plans to increase its tuition.

[RELATED: Despite financial woes, Ivy League school hires SECOND diversity czar]

Rutgers University — a public school — likewise hired a “Senior Vice President for Equity” at an annual salary of $300,000. Earlier in the year, Rutgers president Joe Barchi announced that the school would lose $200 million due to COVID-induced budget shortfalls.

[RELATED: Rutgers pays new ‘Equity’ VP $300,000, despite projected $200 million COVID losses]

Campus Reform reached out to Northeastern University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft