University creates new position to further diversity initiatives

The University has hired a new Chief Equity, Diversity and Compliance Officer. The new position will be held by the former Director of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Compliance and Title IX Officer Lori Brown.

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The change comes a year after protests around diversity and inclusion rocked Seton Hall’s campus, culminating in a nine-day sit-in in the lobby of President’s Hall.

The new position was announced in an email to the university by President Nyre’s office on Feb. 12.

“I am particularly gratified that the comprehensive search to find Seton Hall’s inaugural CEDCO has resulted in a hire who possesses unparalleled knowledge of the ethical and the technical aspects of this key role, as well as a deep understanding of Seton Hall’s important mission,” Dr. Nyre said in an email.

The new position will aim to “develop a culture of equity, diversity and compliance that includes everyone in the Seton Hall community,” as well as investigate claims of discrimination and ensure that the university is operating in accordance with regulations, according to Nyre’s announcement.

Brown has served in Seton Hall’s compliance office since 2006, and has served as Director of EEO Compliance and Title IX Officer since 2015.

“I am responsible for anti-discrimination training as well as investigating allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation on and off-campus,” Brown said.

Previously, Brown served as a lawyer who worked with many discrimination and sexual harassment cases.

“Prior to my arrival at Seton Hall, I practiced law and had the opportunity of representing both plaintiffs and management in employment law matters at different firms, handling cases in connection with claims of sexual harassment and discrimination which provided me with a unique perspective of these matters,” Brown said.

Brown says that her experience in law and at Seton Hall give her the experience required for the new role.

“I have a solid understanding of both federal and state regulations as it relates to anti-discrimination and the intent of these regulations,” Brown said. “I believe that the work I have engaged in during my career has greatly helped to prepare me for this new role.”

The 2018-2019 acadmic year saw controversy over diversity and discrimination on campus, with The Concerned 44 staging multiple protests over diversity concerns.

The protests began in October 2018, with the group, which derives its name from the reported percentage of minorities at the university, delivering a list of demands to the Provost’s office.

Concerned 44 continued its protests, which led to a 9 day sit-in in the lobby of President’s Hall in November 2018. In May 2019, the group called for the termination of history professor Williamjames Hoffer, who compared the Concerned 44 to the Ku Klux Klan in a blogpost.

While she did not comment on what led to the creation of the new position, Brown hopes to help Seton Hall become more inclusive.

“My goal for Seton Hall is to ensure that we are learning, living, and working in a place where everyone feels welcome and included,” Brown said. “To engage in courageous conversations about what diversity and inclusion means for our campus and to work collectively to build on what we have started in order to continue to move forward in this space.”

Daniel O’Connor can be reached at daniel.oconnor1@student.shu.edu.

Author: Daniel O'Connor

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