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Last Thursday, during a board meeting at Indiana University East in Richmond, IU trustees talked about the contracts awarded by the school to businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans.
Governor Mike Pence set diversity targets for all state purchasing from the Indiana government.
According to trustee Patrick Shoulders, IU considers those aspirational goals. The aim is to encourage the development of women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses, known as WBE and MBE, in the state of Indiana.
Shoulders says IU is one of the leading institutions in the state making the effort to achieve these goals.
“We have not attained the self-imposed aspirational goals and I think there are a lot of explanations for that,” Shoulders said, “It certainly isn’t through lack of effort but perhaps through lack of available, qualified WBE and MBE providers.”
Shoulders explains that the awards are given out based on the lowest bid, which can make it hard for small businesses to win contracts at IU.
“I think that this effort is difficult and we’re fighting against years and years of discrimination,” Shoulders said, “The Board of Trustees was quite clear that We expect IU to be on the cutting edge of pushing for the success of WBEs and MBEs.”
Though IU fell short of the state’s diversity directives, Shoulders says the trustees want IU to be a leader in the state for awarding these kinds of contracts.