McCath Turner joins the institute from the Stella & Charles Guttman Community College, City University of New York, where she worked as the assistant dean for equity, inclusion, and experiential learning.
In her new role, McCath Turner will work with colleagues across the museum's departments and oversee the implementation of the Met's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access plan and Commitments to Anti-Racism, Diversity, and a Stronger Community, issued in summer 2020.
The museum's search for a chief diversity office began earlier this year. McCath Turner's appointment comes five months after a staff later that called on the Met's leaders to acknowledge “a deeply rooted logic of white supremacy and culture of systemic racism at our institution.”
McCath Turner said: “I have dedicated my career to creating equity, inclusion, and community within a range of arts and culture and higher education institutions, so it is with great excitement that I accept this new position at The Met. The Met is committed to ensuring that both its staff and visitors feel valued and are able to experience the Museum as a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible cultural institution, goals I look forward to helping The Met achieve.”
Daniel H. Weiss, the museum's president and CEO, said: “Lavita McMath Turner has an exceptional record of success promoting equity throughout her career in cultural and higher education institutions, and she will be a key partner in helping The Met evolve into a more inclusive place to work, visit, and learn. I am greatly looking forward to working together—with the full support of our Board and so many across the institution—to achieve these goals.”
In 2017, the city of New York ordered its cultural organisations to diversify their staff or risk losing a portion of public funding. Hiring processes, however, have been complicated by the economic impact of the pandemic and its impact on budgets.
Over the summer, facing a estimated $150m loss in revenue, the Met enacted a series of cuts. These measures included layoffs, of which 48 per cent affected people of colour, despite 43 per cent of the museum's total staff identifying as people of colour.