Committee searches to fill new diversity efforts chancellor position

By Samantha Jones Toal

Kevin Hamilton, chair of the search committee for the associate chancellor for diversity efforts and initiatives,JT said that a new associate chancellor could help with contentious issues such as the U.S. Minority course debate.

“If we had an associate chancellor right now, I’m sure she’d be working really hard on this recent process to get a new general education requirement approved,” Hamilton said.

The committee is conducting the search for the new associate chancellor internally, hoping to fill the position with a professor on campus.

Hamilton said that getting faculty involved in diversity efforts works better when other faculty lead the initiative.

The search committee is currently finalizing the job description for the associate chancellor position before reaching out to potential candidates across campus.

“We’re looking for someone to play a leadership role in envisioning what we need to do on campus,” Hamilton said.

The new associate chancellor will also advise the chancellor and provost regularly about issues on campus and solutions to encourage inclusivity.

“We have a lot more work to do on campus to make it a place that’s welcoming for all, and inclusive and supportive for those that are here,” Hamilton said. “We need somebody in this role because we have so many different efforts going on in service of diversity and inclusion … We really need someone to coordinate communication and cooperation across the campus.”

Menah Pratt-Clarke previously held the position of associate provost for diversity but left to serve as the vice provost for inclusion and diversity at Virginia Tech.JT

Hamilton said the new position is similar to the one Pratt-Clarke held at the University.

Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson announced the creation of the new position with guidance from Pratt-Clarke in a Mass Mail sent on Dec. 7 in the aftermath of the creation of an Illini White Student Union Facebook page.JT

“My leadership team and I have been meeting regularly with student and faculty groups, and we have attended several recent rallies and vigils,” Wilson said. “These conversations and experiences have reinforced the difficult truth that for many on our campus, racism and discrimination are part of daily life. This is unacceptable.”

Ron Lewis, a junior in Business and a member of the search committee,JT said he was sad to see Pratt-Clarke leave the position. However, he said the main goal of the search committee is to find someone who fits the position and is just as passionate about the issues minority groups on campus might face.

Lewis mentioned different problems that have occurred on campus, like the creation of the Illini White Student Union Facebook page, as well as just general disrespect toward different communities.

“I definitely think it’s an important position because you never know what will happen next,” Lewis said. “I think this position is a potential way to be proactive about everything going on and really make a difference.”

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