Since the election of Donald Trump on Nov. 8, the Pacific University administration has offered a steady stream of support in regards to safety, diversity, equity and inclusion. This has come in the form of emails, speeches and forums. While these things have always been a priority for the university, it seems the election has brought greater emphasis.
On Nov. 17, at the annual State of the University Address, president Lesley Hallick announced the launch of a nation-wide search to hire a Director of Diversity, equity and inclusion at Pacific University.
The administration has been discussing how to make this position fit the school’s needs since last spring. They have now decided that the school can no longer go without someone in this position and so two Interim Directors of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Pete Erschen and Bevin McCarthy, have been appointed. Erschen and McCarthy are joined by two
co-chairs for the Interim Diversity Team, Daniel Eisen and David Fuentes.
Erschen and McCarthy said that one of the main goals for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program is to have a “team of trained faculty and staff that will be available to hear and assist with student, faculty and staff concerns about campus climate and equity.” The interim directors said that in the time before a permanent director is hired, they plan to “engage the campus community in some more specific conversations about the ways we all might advance and be included in this important theme in the university’s mission statement.” They also added that, “the campus community can anticipate more specific announcements about ways to engage in the coming weeks.” In the State of the University Address, Hallick noted the importance of this interim period, “the plan is to develop a solid base and support group to help the new director begin moving forward immediately after arriving here,” Hallick said. She hopes this will occur before July 1.