The search committee for a new vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion brought four highly qualified individuals onto campus to meet with students and faculty as part of the search to fill this inaugural cabinet role.
For confidentiality, The Leader will not be disclosing the names of these candidates due to them still working at other institutions, so the endorsement will refer to them as candidate A, B, C, or D.
While we always front for transparency from others on campus, this is not an attempt of us trying to deceive readers of The Leader, but rather protect the privacy of these individuals.
The Leader was invited to all four sessions where the candidates spoke and answered questions from members in the audience. Each candidate brought their own unique vision to what this role could entail under their leadership because of their wide range of experience, approaches and backgrounds.
Ultimately, the candidate receiving our endorsement is Candidate C. This candidate has a long history working within spaces of DEI as well as experience being in the role as a student seeking assistance from their undergraduate office. This candidate has worked in DEI for almost 30 years and has served on two presidential cabinets.
This candidate has served in two roles where they were a founding director for multicultural affairs and a multicultural space on each respective campus. Their experience is recognized amongst other institutions after being sought out to bring forward plans to further DEI work on polarized campuses after hate incidents.
Additionally, this candidate made it a point during their session to speak to the students and faculty about what is currently on campus for marginalized communities as well as turning the table to ask people in attendance if they think Elmhurst University is ready for change with the inaugural role.
Flipping the role and asking the audience questions is a great way to see firsthand what faculty and students feel is needed from the candidate before they potentially enter the role here at EU. This moment shows how they can potentially collaborate with students to get their needs met at the cabinet level.
All of the other three candidates are highly qualified and would make a great fit in the inaugural role.
While this is true, the way Candidate C spoke and connected to the audience members gives a glimmer of hope they will build a strong foundation for this VP of DEI role and enact change and put forth work that will allow EU diversity to shine through and provide ample support to students.
Vanessa Sevilla, The Leader Opinions Editor, is a sitting member on the search committee team for a VP of DEI. Sevilla provided no information, materials, or had an influence on who The Leader endorsed for this editorial nor was involved in the writing process of this editorial.