Haas ‘Deeply Sorry’ On MBA Diversity, Vows Action

In February, Haas hired Élida Bautista as the director of diversity and inclusion. Photo by Jim Block for Berkeley-Haas

Victoria Williams-Ononye. File photo

Victoria Williams-Ononye is a current Berkeley Haas student who will finish her MBA in 2019. She says in the 30 days the university used to develop the action plan, Race Inclusion Initiative representatives met with Chandler and Stowsky three times. “They were very open to our thoughts and seriously considered all of our prior recommendations,” Williams-Ononye tells Poets&Quants. “While there are some flaws in the plan, particularly around changes to the recruitment process, I think it’s robust. I’m really glad that it includes multiple staff appointments, budget for training and programming, and an accountability mechanism.”

However, saying that “it’s certainly been an interesting process to get us to this point,” Williams-Ononye adds that the plan is late in coming.

“It’s hard to applaud a plan that should’ve been created six months ago,” she says. “I’m cautiously optimistic, but we have been waiting for substantive action for a while. Many of us are hopeful that the implementation of the plan’s action items is swift. It’s my hope that with the administration taking responsibility for their part in the decline and committing to change, we can all begin to genuinely move forward together.

“Even more importantly, I hope that prospective students will see that we’re an institution that is in the process of some really important self-reflection that will make Haas a more inclusive place for years to come.”


The Haas report credits students and alumni for the recommendations that form the foundation of the report. “With their valuable insights, research, consultancy, and advocacy we have developed much more robust actions to impact real change,” it reads. The report includes a pair of supporting documents describing actions taken since fall 2017 and the school’s five-year Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan, which was completed in 2016.

Administration officials reviewed the plan at the Management Team and Senior Leadership Team meetings as well as Haas Advisory Board and tenure-track faculty meetings in mid-October. The November Staff Town Hall will also be dedicated to a discussion on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“Creating this plan is just the beginning,” the report reads. “We have much work ahead. We commit to making this plan public and to providing updates on milestones along the way.”

Read the full Haas report here.