Search committees cause controversy

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The two search committees for interim positions announced seek to fill the only two positions held by women on the president’s cabinet, raising questions from faculty members.
Nichole Gonzalez, interim vice president for student affairs and Nancy K. Taylor, acting chief financial officer, are the only two women serving as vice presidents. The other 10 cabinet members are white men.
Pauline Hoffmann, Ph.D., dean of graduate studies, first noticed some inconsistencies at the end of last semester when the searches were announced.
“Nancy and Nichole weren’t standing with the rest of the cabinet at the convocation,” Hoffmann said. “It was just a row of white men up front. I am bothered that no one seems to get how that looks.”
Hoffmann added that she does not question the president and commends him for his work on campus, but she feels that if St. Bonaventure is going to claim to be diverse, it actually should be.
“If they [Gonzalez and Taylor] are the most qualified people for their positions, I hope they get the job,” Hoffmann said. “But what happens then? We bring in two more white men?”
Especially now, with the #MeToo movement in place, Hoffmann feels that producing a varied cabinet is important.
“I do not think anyone is saying, ‘Down with women,’” Hoffmann said. “I think it is a blindness. No one seems to be paying attention to it. The cabinet needs to be more representative of the student body at large.”
Students on campus agreed with Hoffmann.
“The representation of multiple backgrounds and genders is very important. They offer different opinions and outlooks and we must be mindful of that,” said Caleigh Swanson, a freshman sports studies major.
Afful Clinton, a freshman health science major, also felt that the cabinet would benefit from multiple people of different backgrounds.
President Dennis DePerro, Ed.D., commented that the university is looking for the best possible candidates for key roles in the administration.
“It is important, as a new president, for us to have a leadership team that is going to bring to St. Bonaventure the best skills and the best possible credentials to lead the key areas of this university in ways that we can best serve our students,” DePerro said.
In regards to the lack of diversity, DePerro said he will be looking very closely at the issue.
“We have search committees that have been appointed to make the recommendations of who the final candidates should be,” he said. “I think that they are all cognizant of that fact that we are always trying to attract our leadership team to be diverse, both with men and women, individuals of color and individuals from diverse backgrounds.”
DePerro also added that it is of great importance to the university that its leadership team, faculty and staff are diverse.
“If we are going to walk the talk of being more diverse as an institution, then we need to walk the talk at every level,” he said.
DePerro assures that the aspects of a diverse cabinet are being taken into consideration.
“It would be wonderful if we were able to find two women and would be wonderful if we were able to find two multicultural women or men,” he said. “We want to bring in the best candidates that will help move the university forward.”
“The structure of the cabinet may change,” DePerro concluded.

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