New Equity and Diversity Director Plans to Educate and Listen

  • Portrait of Barrett Morris, standing on the CSUN campus with palm trees and Sierra Tower in the background on a sunny day.

    Photo by David J. Hawkins.

CSUN was recently ranked by the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education as having the second-most diverse learning environment in the nation. Barrett Morris, CSUN’s new director of Equity and Diversity and Title IX coordinator, sees his number one goal as ensuring that all members of this diverse university community feel welcome, included and treated fairly.

“CSUN values — and I value — inclusion because it is vital to the success of any organization and every university,” Morris said. “I am excited to take on this role because CSUN is a community that champions diverse perspectives and experiences.”

Morris said he was attracted to CSUN because he could tell that equity and diversity were priorities for the university. He first felt this when he met CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison at a Title IX conference and learned she has done similar work in her career. He said his work is more impactful when he works alongside leaders who truly believe in championing diverse perspectives and experiences.

“I got a sense that the work that this office does plays an important part to the climate here,” Morris said. “I’ve always worked to bring justice and equity, and I saw that CSUN shares those values.”

Morris, who joined CSUN this summer, now leads the Office of Equity and Diversity, which affirms CSUN’s commitment to the core principles of diversity and inclusion, to the policies and practices that ensure equitable consideration and opportunity in education and employment, and to a culture that embraces a multiplicity of talents, knowledge, beliefs, abilities and experiences. He plans to continue efforts to provide students and employees with information and training on a wide range of topics, including maintaining a respectful workplace, avoiding discrimination toward all legally protected classes (such as race, gender, ability), anti-hazing, anti-stalking and Title IX, the 1972 federal civil rights law.

Morris fills several roles at CSUN: director of Equity and Diversity; Title IX Coordinator; Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation (DHR) administrator; and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator.

Natalie Mason-Kinsey, CSUN’s Chief Diversity Officer, said he was the right candidate for CSUN because of his collaborative approach to the job, said. She said it’s important for CSUN administrators to collaborate with members of the campus community so everyone knows what resources are available for fostering a welcoming environment.

“We want to be a welcoming campus for everyone,” Mason-Kinsey said. “CSUN is very diverse. It’s always been a welcoming environment, and we want it to stay that way.”

Morris was born in Los Angeles but grew up in Michigan (fun fact: his uncle is Motown songwriter Barrett Strong, who co-wrote such classics as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “War,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”).

He comes to CSUN from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he served as executive director of compliance for four years. In a career dedicated to fairness, he also has held appointments at Cerritos College, the University of San Diego, San Jose State and Purdue University. He studied political theory and constitutional democracy at Michigan State University. He’s also a Juris Doctorate candidate at UNLV School of Law. He started his professional career as a civil rights equal employment opportunity representative for the State of Michigan, Department of Civil Rights.

Morris’ goal is to treat everyone fairly and to make sure everyone who interacts with his office feels heard.

An expert on best practices in diversity hiring, Morris will help advance CSUN’s continuing efforts to further diversity its faculty. He will work with the departments on campus to cast wider nets to increase the diversity of their applicant pools.

“Being a part of positive change, that keeps me motivated to do this work,” Morris said.