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West Side Revive’s Fryson new WVU diversity VP

By Mackenzie Mays, Staff writer

West Virginia University has created a new position in its Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — an attempt to strengthen what the university said are its goals of providing an “open and inclusive atmosphere” — and placed a former Kanawha Valley resident in the job.

David Fryson, who has served as WVU’s chief diversity officer since 2012, has been named vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion at the school, and will provide leadership and oversight of campus diversity efforts.

“This is not simply a title change. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act today, it is critical that we build on what’s been gained in the years since it became law as we continue to be an increasingly diverse nation,” WVU President Gordon Gee said in a statement on Wednesday. “A diverse and inclusive campus is a strong campus, and WVU students will be better prepared for the world in which they live by learning in an environment that reflects that world. Additionally, we want to ensure that all persons feel their intrinsic worth and make this university a welcoming place to learn, work and teach.”

Fryson, an attorney and minister, has been active in several community organizations over the years that promote inclusion, including Charleston’s branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Opportunities Industrialization Center.

He is currently helping to lead a reform of Charleston’s crime-ridden West Side, which will help support public schools, children’s organizations and other community services to help overcome the low-income area’s problems.

“We are planning to bring the intellectual resources and assets of WVU to the underrepresented and underserved communities within West Virginia in innovative and meaningful ways,” Fryson said about the ongoing West Side project. “Charleston’s West Side Revive is the first of what we hope to be many efforts to broaden our land-grant mission throughout the state.”

In his new position, Fryson will oversee four main departments in WVU’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: the Office of Diversity Initiatives; the Office of Equity Assurance, the Office of Accessibility and the Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity.

Fryson will continue to serve as a member of Gee’s senior leadership team.

“President Gee recognizes the importance diversity, equity and inclusion plays in ensuring that West Virginia University is considered a premier institution for all students in our highly diverse nation as we also endeavor to attract an ever more diverse and distinguished faculty and staff,” Fryson said Wednesday. “Our outreach will be to a national audience and I am honored to lead that effort.”

Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.mays@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.


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