Brendan W. Clark ’21
Trinity’s efforts to hire a new Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator have been delayed, according to a Nov. 16 email from Faculty Secretary Mark Stater, on behalf of the College administration, that was obtained by the Tripod.
Chief of Staff to the President Jason Rojas told the Tripod in September that the College would “make a decision during the fall semester” regarding hiring. That position appeared to have been reversed based on the Nov. 16 email.
The College has not communicated the delay or the reasons for the postponement to students as of Tuesday afternoon. Rojas noted that the College had “informed the President of the Student Government Association and other governance groups that were represented on the search committee.”
Stater indicated in the Nov. 16 email that Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina and Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Anita Davis had informed him that the search “will continue so additional candidates can be identified.”
Stater noted that “while the search committee met with several strong candidates, they were not as yet able to identify someone to fill this key role.” The candidates, Sophia Brelvi and Kelly Yough, participated in a round of community interviews in late September. Brelvi is the Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Dartmouth College, while Yough served Dean of Student Affairs at Mount Saint Mary College from 2013 to 2018.
While the Tripod received access to the recording of Brelvi’s interview in September, the Yough interview was never provided.
It remained unclear why neither of those candidates were selected and if they would remain under consideration in the future. Rojas told the Tripod Monday that the College “does not comment publicly relative to an individual’s candidacy or the specifics of the selection process,” declining to clarify the delay. “We have not yet identified a candidate to fill this critical role and a search will continue until we do,” he added.
President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney expressed a commitment in September to fill the position, noting that she understands the “vital role that the person in this position will have” and committed at the time to provide “ample opportunities for members of the campus community to participate in the interview process.”
The College also declined Monday to provide additional details regarding the search process, including if it will reconvene the multi-constituent search committee of faculty, students, and staff that participated in the hiring process earlier this fall. When pressed, Rojas noted that the College “will update the community when we have additional information to provide.”
Rita Kelley—who drew ire from activist accounts such as @trinsurvivors earlier this summer for her handling of Title IX procedure—will “remain our interim title [sic] coordinator until the position is filled,” Rojas added.
In response to student concerns over the summer about the management of Title IX cases, the College has “made adjustments to the handling of cases to reflect the concerns,” according to Rojas, though it was not immediately clear what changes had been implemented.
Berger-Sweeney also committed in her September email to forming a Title IX advisory board which would include students, which Rojas affirmed would be seated by the end of the semester. No updates to the community or invitation to participate had been made as of Tuesday. The College’s semester formally ends in several weeks on Dec. 21.