Search committee reviews diversity chancellor applicants

By Gus Bode

Interim Chancellor Sam Goldman has charged a committee to overhaul the post of associate chancellor for diversity and find someone to fill it.

Seymour Bryson, who held the position for nine years, retired on Sept. 1.

University spokesman Rod Sievers said the committee, led by Harold Bardo, associate professor of MEDPREP, met Monday to begin a review of applications sent in earlier this month.

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Sievers said Goldman would name an interim associate chancellor in October. The search for a permanent candidate would begin in the spring, he said.

Unlike most other search committees, this nine-member task force would critically analyze the position and recommend changes that should be made, Sievers said. The committee may recommend that the post be split into two positions.

At the time of Bryson’s retirement, the associate chancellor for diversity was the campus affirmative action officer and liaison between the university and members of ethnic and social minorities. Sievers said the office also directs the SIUC Head Start, University Women’s Professional Advancement, Student Support Services and Center for Academic Success, which assists freshmen from struggling high schools to succeed in college. Bryson was also responsible for some sexual harassment investigations.

Sievers said he expects the committee to recommend some of those duties be shifted to the provost or dean of student affairs.

In a draft of proposed changes to the university’s sexual harassment policy, the SIU Office of General Counsel recommended creating a new position, “associate vice chancellor for compliance,” that would direct the university in its investigation of sexual harassment allegations.

Campus organizations that worked closely with Bryson have high expectations for his successor.

John Boddie, coordinator of the Black Affairs Council, said his group collected 60 signatures in 30 minutes for a petition nominating Father Joseph Brown, a professor of black American studies and ordained priest in the Roman Catholic church, for the position.

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Boddie, who also serves as an Undergraduate Student Government senator for the College of Business, said he hopes Goldman will select the appropriate candidate for the position even if it is not Brown.

“I hope they find somebody who really cares about what the students want and is not just here because they want the job to say they have the job,” Boddie said.

Brown declined comment.

Virginia Dicken, coordinator of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Resource Center, said she hopes the next diversity vice chancellor will continue to recognize the needs of students affiliated with the program the way Bryson had.

Sean McGahan contributed to this report.

Daily Egyptian reporter Barton Lorimor can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 263 or [email protected]

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