On Thursday, September 20th, Dean Mike Whaley sent an email out to the student body with an update on Wesleyan’s search for a new Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, following the departure of Antonio Farias last May when he accepted a job at the University of Florida. Whaley’s email announces that he and Professor Nicole Stanton will chair the search committee to replace Farias, and that they would like input from the student body on our “aspirations for the position.” They will be hosting a “group visioning exercise” for the job position description this Thursday in Usdan.
During his tenure on campus, Farias was a controversial figure among the student body. His job was to oversee the Office of Equity and Inclusion, whose mission is to “[provide] leadership and accountability to resolve systemic inequities for all members of the Wesleyan community.” Despite this lofty description, events on campus in the past few years repeatedly led students to call the priorities of Dean Farias into question.
Like the time Associate Dean of Students and chair of the Title IX hearing panel Scott Backer was quietly fired because it came out that he was a sexual predator.
Or the time Wesleyan ranked 1972nd in economic mobility for low income students.
And let’s not forget about the time Farias accused student workers hoping to raise the minimum wage of trying to live above their class.
Given all of this history, here’s to hoping that the new VP for Equity and Inclusion meets the needs of the student body much better than the last! While the search remains underway, Debbie Colucci is the interim VP.
The full text of Dean Mike’s email is below:
President Roth has asked Professor Nicole Stanton and I to chair the search for Wesleyan’s next Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. We are honored to do so.
We have begun building a position description for the job posting, and would like to hear from you about your aspirations for the position. We will be facilitating a group visioning exercise next Thursday 9/27 at 6pm in Usdan 108. We hope that you’ll join us to share your sense of critical areas for the next VP to address.
If you are unable to attend next Thursday’s session, please feel free to e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I value your input as we begin this important search.