Associate Vice President and Executive Officer of UI Boise Michael Satz has always been passionate about equality issues.
Satz came to UI in 2006 to work in the College of Law. Now he works on the university president”s diversity council. He said topics of diversity and equality have always been a big part of his job. He said when he was hired to work in UI”s College of Law he was the only doctrinal faculty member of color, and he tried to provide a different perspective to his students.
National Jurist Magazine named Satz a leader in diversity after he was nominated by one of his colleagues. Satz said he was happy and humbled by the news.
“If you look at the list of the people who were selected, a lot of these people are people whose work I follow closely and who I look up to as sort of my leaders,” he said.
After years of studying diversity and equality, Satz said he has noticed the most popular issues shift to follow national politics. For example, he said when Barack Obama was elected U.S. president, racism came to the forefront of people”s minds. Now, immigration and the refugee crisis are heated issues as well.
Satz said a common concept that surrounds the core issues of inequality is the idea of “The Other.”
“All of this boils down to this concept of “These people are somehow different from me,”” he said. “It”s what we call “The Other.” “These people are “others” compared to me.” And you can see this in anybody, and any group can see another group and call them an “other.””
One of the primary issues to do with diversity facing the State of Idaho and UI is the lack of diverse groups in the area, Satz said. He said there are pockets of Native American, Hispanic and refugee groups, but there should be more diversity throughout the state.
The lack of diversity in Idaho and UI has its ups and downs, Satz said. Because there are less diverse groups, many people in Idaho don”t know how to appropriately address related issues. Yet, because there is such an obvious lack of diversity, more people are open to discussing and learning about diversity-related concerns, Satz said. “The university has done just a fantastic job in the last decade that I have been there in addressing these issues and growing certain populations and making the school comfortable and the climate comfortable for everybody,” Satz said.