Air Force Academy addresses diversity issues

A month after  the release of a troubling survey that indicated widespread gender, racial, religious and sexual discrimination or harassment, the Air Force Academy has hired a chief diversity officer.

The Academy has hired Diversity Officer Dr. Adis Maria Vila as chief diversity officer, a position that had been in the works for more than a year.

“To achieve its mission, the USAFA must insist that diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence be at the core of its organizational culture and imbedded in its organizational strategies,” Vila said in a prepared statement.

Vila’s responsibilities will include working with Congress on diversity issues, promoting institutional and classroom diversity, and implementing an Academy Diversity Plan. The diversity plan is designed to expose cadets to a broad range of racial and gender ideas and experiences, and a wide range of life, language and spiritual perspectives.

According to the Academy survey:

  • 39 percent of women had directly experienced harassment or discrimination
  • Almost half of the cadets polled said that there is a low tolerance for non-Christian beliefs
  • 20 percent of those who were victims of harassment or discrimination said it was due to their race
  • 22 cadets and eight Academy employees alleged that they were victims of stalking

The survey has also prompted the Academy to review chain-of-command reporting procedures, as commanders were surprised at the amount of anonymous allegations on the survey that were not reported to law enforcement officials.