A parade of diversity, equity, and inclusion officers have departed Quinnipiac University within the past year.
A total of five diversity officials have resigned from the Connecticut-based university within an 11-month span, the Quinnipiac Chronicle reported.
Most recently, Wayne Gersie, vice president of equity and inclusion, announced he will leave his position and return to his former post at Michigan Technological University, citing “personal reasons,” the student newspaper reported.
Asked about the high turnover rate, campus spokesman John Morgan told The College Fix the university “remains committed to achieving the goals of advancing inclusive excellence.”
“We have appointed David Fryson, an experienced higher education leader, to serve as interim vice president for equity and inclusion. Having served as interim vice president for diversity at Brandeis University, and prior to that as vice president for equity and inclusion at West Virginia University, David will begin his new role at Quinnipiac in early January,” he said.
The Chronicle reported that Gersie’s departure came after only five months on the job.
“Four other diversity and inclusion administrators have resigned in the past year,” it added.
“Dennis Kwarteng, Quinnipiac’s former Title IX coordinator, left Quinnipiac in January. Gersie’s predecessor, Don Sawyer, departed Quinnipiac in June. Daymyen Layne, the former director of multicultural education and training, departed in June as well. And Veronica Jacobs, the current associate director of multicultural education and training, announced her resignation on Dec. 1.”
President Judy Olian assured the campus there is no cause for alarm.
“While there may appear to be several shifts in reporting roles, nothing has changed about our unwavering commitment to achieving the goals of advancing inclusive excellence, and expanding the programming available to support students, faculty and staff of color,” Olian stated.
The president argued, according to the school newspaper, that the reorganizing of diversity programming and initiatives will allow for the institution to more effectively carry out plans to advance social causes and assist students from so-called marginalized groups.
“The restructuring of the Office of Inclusive Excellence will enable our singular focus on execution of the university priorities around inclusive excellence — our 10-point plan for social justice, the goals of our LGBTQ+ plan, and the action plans derived from our climate for diversity survey — while also connecting global students and programs to the relevant functions at the university,” Olian said, per the outlet.
Gersie’s departure comes amid a wave of firings and resignations of DEI-focused professionals across the country in both academia and the private sector. Diversity officers have come under political fire over accusations of promoting divisive ideologies and encouraging discriminatory policies in hiring and admissions.
On Wednesday, for example, the Oklahoma governor signed an executive order to slash higher education DEI programs.
Red states such as Texas and Florida have moved to dismantle DEI offices from their universities, with GOP leaders saying they do more harm than good.
Though diversity officers at public universities are at most risk of losing their jobs, those working for private universities have come under heightened scrutiny amid campus uproars over the Israel-Hamas War.
High-level donors such as billionaire financier Bill Ackman noted that DEI programs often exclude groups such as white men, Asians, and Jews, cutting against the notion that such initiatives foster an inclusive campus.
But Quinnipiac spokesman Morgan told The Fix that the university will actually double-down on its DEI efforts by filling out an entire staff dedicated to helping “diverse” students.
Fryson “will prioritize building out the full team of the Office of Inclusive Excellence at Quinnipiac, including a new position we have added to increase retention of first-generation and diverse students. Once the complete equity and inclusion team has been assembled, the university will launch a search for a permanent vice president,” he said.
IMAGE: YouTube screenshot