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University forms search committee for new vice president for institutional equity and diversity

VPIED search committee discusses criteria for successor, seeks community input prior to September decision

The University has formed a search committee to find a successor for Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Shontay Delalue, according to a Feb. 12 Today@Brown announcement from President Christina Paxson P’19. Delalue will depart her role at the University July 1 to become senior vice president and senior diversity officer at Dartmouth, The Herald previously reported

The search committee, which is co-chaired by Paxson and Vice President for Campus Life Eric Estes, consists of faculty members, staff and students who will discuss and identify criteria for Delalue’s successor. The committee expects to make its decision by September at the latest, Paxson wrote in an email to The Herald.

“The priority is to take the time needed to find the right candidate for Brown,” she wrote.

The new VPIED must be “a strategist and a leader with a strong sense of empathy” who is able to represent the values and voices of all community members, including faculty, staff, students and alumni, with the goal of improving inclusivity and diversity at the University, Paxson wrote. 

“It will be essential that this individual also have the expertise to develop and oversee policies and strategies in state and federal compliance areas that include Title IX, Affirmative Action plans and (Equal Opportunity Employment),” Paxson wrote. 

Committee member Sheyenne Allen ’23, who serves on the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity student advisory board and who has worked closely with Delalue, believes that the new VPIED should be collaborative and possess a willingness to listen to students. 

She also hopes that the new vice president will be just as heavily involved in the community as Delalue. “How can you make decisions, how can you bring up ideas and introduce policies without understanding the community that you’re making these policies for?” Allen said.

There are “lots of situations at Brown where students aren’t being heard, so I think it’s really important that we have a candidate who listens to the students,” Allen added. 

The new VPIED will lead the continuing implementation of Phase II of the University’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, which outlines the steps Brown must take to achieve an inclusive and diverse community, according to the plan’s website. Phase II will be released later this spring. 

As such, Paxson explained the importance of acknowledging the progress made since the launch of the plan five years ago, as well as the necessity for more important work in the future. 

“This means continuing work with stakeholders across Brown to build an architecture for diversity, equity and inclusion that sustains the work through all aspects of academic, administrative and campus life” and decision-making, Paxson wrote. 

To represent a variety of community voices, Paxson invited faculty, staff members and students to join the VPIED search committee, Estes wrote in an email to The Herald.

“Members of the committee were chosen because of their roles, their work related to diversity, equity and inclusion and their capacity to contribute insights to the search,” Estes added. “There was also a focus on student representation, which led to the inclusion of an undergraduate and graduate student on the committee.” 

The committee is currently in the process of establishing criteria for candidates, Allen said. This information will then be passed on to a search consultant, who will present potential candidates to the committee. 

The committee plans to hold information sessions with the search consultant and committee members, where members of the Brown community will be able to contribute their thoughts on the search, Paxson wrote. Keeping the larger community informed about the search process and the significance of the OIED and VPIED role is a key objective for the committee, Allen said.

“It’s really important that the community knows we’re really excited for this search,” Allen said, “and we’re really excited to get someone into this position who will further the institutional equity that we’ve so far been implementing.”



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