University News

Klawunn to leave post as head of student life

Long-time admin’s legacy includes facilities renovations, student services expansions

Friday, June 19, 2015

Updated on Monday, June 22 at 3:50p.m.

After nearly two decades at the University, Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, will leave to become vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of California at Santa Barbara, President Christina Paxson P’19 wrote in a community-wide email Friday. Klawunn will end her tenure at the start of August and begin her post at UCSB in September.

The announcement comes exactly one month after the news that Provost Vicki Colvin would be stepping down after one year in her position, adding to a period that has been marked by notably high administrative turnover at the top levels. Richard Locke, director of the Watson Institute for International Studies took over as Provost at the beginning of this month.

Klawunn’s passion for integrating students’ academic and campus experiences, combined with a desire to be near family, made the move appealing, Paxson wrote.

Klawunn’s husband graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and her daughter currently attends the University of California at Santa Cruz. The job opening’s UC label is what originally placed the position on her radar, Klawunn said.

As head of the Office of Student Life, Klawunn has helped define the student experience, overseeing a wide range of projects aimed at restructuring Brown’s physical landscape, while reshaping student services, placing particular attention on the importance of advising and diversity.

During her tenure, many student facilities, including residence halls, student centers and athletic facilities, have undergone renovations, while several student services, including the University’s Health and Counseling and Psychological Services as well as the LGBTQ Center, have been expanded.

Klawunn also served as the administrative contact for many student clubs and centers, working with diverse organizations to identify student needs and construct solutions.

In her new position, Klawunn will continue working toward greater integration of academic and campus experiences, including through the admission process. Klawunn said participating in the admission process will grant her greater input in selection of the student body and how that population is served.

Klawunn has been “a teacher, an adviser, and a mentor to so many students,” wrote Cass Cliatt, vice president for communications, in an email to The Herald. At graduation this year, “barely a class went by of graduates of the past two decades without someone running over and hugging her, thanking her, or giving her a jubilant or victorious high-five,” Cliatt added.

Klawunn “strengthened the student experience outside the classroom in ways that shaped a Brown education for thousands of students over the years, and that will have a lasting impact for generations of students to come,” Paxson wrote in the email.

Klawunn’s impact “can be both seen and felt,” Cliatt wrote. “The collaboration and partnerships that Campus Life built with the Office of the Dean of the College have helped build a support structure for meeting student needs that bridges extracurricular and academic life.”

Klawunn’s tenure was not without controversy, particularly associated with her role in University disciplinary processes.

In 2014, Lena Sclove, a former student, implicated Klawunn, among other University administrators, in mishandling the disciplinary process in her sexual assault case. After the accused assailant was suspended for one year, Sclove appealed the decision. Klawunn reviewed the case and denied the appeal. In wake of the decision, Sclove worked with Legal Momentum, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the legal rights of women, to file Title IX and Clery Act complaints with the U.S. Department of Education against the University.

Klawunn was also a visible University spokeswoman throughout the cases of the alleged drugging of two female students at an unregistered party at Phi Kappa Psi in October 2014 and the alleged sexual assault of one of the two girls later that same night. She continued to serve as the University’s voice in campus-wide emails, along with Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA ’06, throughout the decision-making and appeal processes surrounding the events.

Klawunn first joined the faculty in 1996, teaching in the English and gender studies departments while serving as director of the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center. She was named associate dean of the college in 2000 and assumed her current position in 2008. Klawunn also served as interim dean of the College for six months in 2014.

“I have had an amazing progression of opportunities here at Brown and am extremely grateful,” Klawunn said.

A successor has not yet been selected. The University will undergo a national search for Klawunn’s replacement, Paxson wrote.

“The search for a successor naturally will seek to identify a leader who believes deeply in advocating for the needs of Brown students,” Cliatt wrote.

-With additional reporting by Drew Williams 



  1. uber rider says:

    the trolls will be happy

  2. I, i, i’m not sure

  3. ShadrachSmith says:

    “The search for a successor naturally will seek to identify a leader who believes deeply in advocating for the needs of Brown students,” Cliatt wrote.

    A key issue: gender dysphoria [nounMEDICINE – the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex.]

    The Pill changed everything
    Until the technology empowered individual fertility control, Western culture developed norms and laws that supported paternal duties for men, and maternal duties for women. The role of a man was protection, and the role of the woman was nurture: behave accordingly. Then sex was delinked from love by the pill. I was there.

    When the responsibility to love, protect, and nurture was removed from sex, a groping process for new rules began. The results have been mixed. The anything goes direction of the 60s permitted abuse in the name of expanding the definition of acceptable behavior. By now, most of the new paths have been trod, recorded in 4k, and posted on the internet. Now we need some rules because things were just getting totally out of hand.

    Enter the Title IX Feminist Social Justice Warrior Star Chambers for crushing sexual abuse. It is like the High Sparrow [re]imposing theocratic courts. It seemed like a good idea when the Queen did it, but it hasn’t worked out…perfectly. So we have this problem best defined by a picture. So, what’s the plan?

    • Fug Taurs says:

      We can forgive, for lack of plan, for a short while. Firing Klawunn is good. Besides, are you kidding me? Chris Paxson cannot tell a plan if she sees one anyway.

      • ShadrachSmith says:

        I’m not sure Chris Paxson is good or bad. My favorite Paxon quote is, “On average, taller people earn more because they are smarter.” So she may consider all the qualifications and hire the tall one.

        Best of luck 🙂

        • Back at her home, in hick country, not too many mutants grow tall. That is why she associates height with other superlative qualities.

    • Did Star Chambers truely create this, or is it really an outcry of women who feel something is not right? Maybe many women went through college taking the pill and enjoying the meat market of dorm life; and maybe they graduate with student debt, few job skills, and they “feel” raped. Or rather they were used.

      • ShadrachSmith says:

        To avoid feeling used, spend more effort going to STEM mixers, finding a nice one, and marrying him? I’m not telling anybody what to do, but associating with reliable, employable men is an available alternative.

        • You mean women should date “beta males”? 😮
          Why hasn’t anyone thought of this (sarcasm)? Women always go for the “alpha male,” the douchebag, the cr*ppy guy who dominates the scene, drinks, GTL, and is great in bed. As much as women are claiming victimhood, they don’t look at themselves and ask why they go for certain types of guys. They look for the guy who makes her *happy*, not the guy who nurtures her.

          Even before Star Chambers imposed the theocratic courts, the fallout of the pill was evident in the media. “Beavis and butthead” and to a smaller degree “South Park” and “Fight club” critique the losers in the new world after the sexual revolution. Children who normally would have benefited from protection and nurture ended up as weird, eccentric, awkward, angry, spoiled, and pained kids.

          The beneficiaries of the pill were perhaps the Tucker Maxes and Jersey Shores characters. But the losers were the women who were (or feel) raped, and the kids. And so Star Chambers is perhaps not something that happened out of the blue, but rather is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I.e., things have gotten way out of hand.

          • ShadrachSmith says:

            “Alpha” is a squishy word, but I take your point and that set of women infatuated by bad men are also Gods creations. More to be pitied than shamed.

            My point is that the greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. There are lots of men and women who believe that…me for instance. As you set your goals, finding and wooing a good person who will love you back is worth considering…it has worked out great for me.

  4. Hati Crakhed says:

    Congratulations! Klawunn is moving on from a fake flake called Brown to a real flake called the UC system. Dunno if she likes more of fake or more of flake. But she is a lot of both.

  5. Concerned Alumn says:

    You know right that Klawunn wasn’t fired but left on her own? And even if she was, in the past three years, we have lost two Provost, one dean of the College and two Vice President. Four of those people were left over from Simmons’ years–and if there was one thing Simmons didn’t tolerate it was incompetence. If those three had been so incompetent, they wouldn’t have survived Ruth’s presidency.

    You can still choose to believe they have been fired, if you are naive.

    It stays that any one who rejoices at this is disingenuous. This isn’t good for Brown at all. It makes us look like idiots.

    Turnover is natural when a new president is nominated. This isn’t natural turnover. This is everyone leaving the boat as quickly as they can. You can choose to believe they have all been fired or asked to find other jobs–but even if that was the case, the common denominator here isn’t them but Paxson.

    By sheer mathematical rules, it is impossible that so many people in the senior administration are incompetent (and I’m not even counting here the non senior people–or should I remind you that the Writing Center stop doesn’t have a director and its interim director just quit, the Swearer Center still has no one, that the Career LAB’s director quit last year and that the Sheridan Center has lost two associate directors and a director in two years?). And even if that was the case, it certainly doesn’t explain why Paxson would fire so many supposedly incompetent people and yet leave in place the Dean of the Graduate School, one of the single most incompetent administrator I have had the displeasure of interacting with.

    The only common denominators in this are the piss poor treatment offered to staff at Brown, and the legitimate question:

    Can no one work with Paxson?

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