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Maryland athletics announces hiring of new position to lead diversity, inclusion efforts

Maryland has hired Cynthia Edmunds as its senior associate athletic director for diversity, equity and inclusion/organizational effectiveness, the athletic department announced Thursday.

In this role, Edmunds will work to amplify efforts for increased diversity and inclusion within the athletic department.

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The hiring comes in the wake of protests ignited by the police shooting of 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as well as continued calls for racial justice after the high-profile killings of several Black Americans.

The Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday sat out their NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic, sparking the postponement of games in several professional sports leagues.

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“Cynthia brings over 25 years of experience in higher education,” athletic director Damon Evans said in a news release. “Her tenure at the University of Maryland has proven her to be one who recognizes the need and value of diversity, equity and inclusion as a means to build capacity, enhance alignment and transform experiences.

“She is one who leads with care and excellence and communicates with empathy and candor. Cynthia will bring a strong and clear voice to our diversity and inclusion work and help set our department’s strategic vision in this important area.”

Edmunds has spent the past 12 years with the university, holding roles such as assistant to the president, university equity administrator, staff ombuds officer and director of the thriving workplace initiative. She also held the role of interim chief diversity officer twice during the past three years.

“I appreciate Maryland Athletics’ commitment to this work, and I look forward to working with so many terrific staff, coaches, and student-athletes,” Edmunds said. “I am both thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to serve and affect change in the business of athletics and sport culture.”

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Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon voiced his support for Bucks guard Khris Middleton, whom he coached at Texas A&M, as well as the entire Bucks organization, writing on Twitter: “Life is bigger than basketball. We must change.”

In recent months, Turgeon has been vocal in his support for the Black Lives Matter movement and has led his team in the reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Why We Can’t Wait.”

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