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University of Washington names Ana Mari Cauce as President
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Ana Mari Cauce, the President of University of Washington, is the first woman, first openly gay person and first Latina to hold the permanent position. Photo: http://www.dailyuw.com

“We have to become culturally aware and self-aware”

The University of Washington Board of Regents on Tuesday chose Ana Mari Cauce to be the school’s next president, making her the first woman, first openly gay person and first Latina to hold the job permanently at one of the world’s most well-funded public institutions.

Cauce, formerly a UW provost, was named interim president in March after former president Michael Young left for Texas A&M earlier this year. She has been part of the UW faculty since 1986. During her seven months as interim president, she supported a legislative decision to lower university tuition, adopted Seattle’s $15 minimum wage initiative even though some felt UW should be immune to the Seattle ordinance, announced a plan to expand childcare on campus, finalized a new innovation exchange with Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and has spoken eloquently about diversity, racism and homophobia.

“Sure there are horrible bigots and people who spread hate, and the world would be a better place if we could stop them,” Cauce said. “But racism and those other ‘isms’ are about something more profound. They are inside all of us.”

Historic and cultural racism that is passed down over generations is more subtle and harder to fight, she said. It can’t be willed or ignored away. “We have to become culturally aware and self-aware,” she said.

 

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