COLUMBIA — The UM System has launched an independent audit of its diversity and inclusion policies that will be completed by the end of the year, according to a news release.

The audit will cost about $1.1 million, UM System spokesman John Fougere said. The UM System expects to spend $2 million on a series of diversity initiatives created by the UM System Board of Curators last November. Since November, the UM System has hired a chief diversity officer and created a systemwide task force for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Focus groups and individual interviews will be conducted with students, faculty, staff and administrators at all four UM System campuses and the system level, according to the release. The audit will also include surveys and a review of policies, practices and procedures as they relate to diversity and inclusion.

Interim UM System President Michael Middleton said in the release that the audit will help administrators understand where the system stands compared to peer institutions and best practices in higher education.

“Our goal is to conduct a critical and honest assessment so we can strengthen and coordinate our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion across the UM System,” Middleton said in the release.

Interactive Business Inclusion Solutions, a national firm that works with organizations to improve their diversity initiatives, will conduct the audit, according to the release.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed

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  • Assistant director of outreach, former assistant city editor and reporter. Reach me at or on Twitter @blatchfordtr.

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