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On September 26, 2017, President Cordano announced that in an effort to place greater emphasis on the student experience, she was restructuring her administrative team. There was to be a Vice President of Student Affairs and Community Engagement, and A. Dwight Benedict, ’80, currently Dean of Student Affairs, would fill this position.
There was an immediate response from a number of stakeholders, including students and alumni of color. After receiving feedback from individuals and groups, President Cordano announced on October 3, 2017 that she would hold off on the restructuring. She also said that:
• Dean Benedict would report directly to her;
• The Department of Public Safety would report directly to her for a short period of time, then return to reporting to the Vice President for Administration and Finance; and that
• The Bison Shop and the Facilities Department, which would have been placed under the new Vice President of Student Affairs and Community Engagement, would continue to report to the Vice President for Administration and Finance.
President Cordano stated that she had wanted to prioritize the urgency of addressing the student experience over community involvement in decision-making. She apologized for this mistake, and said that this had been a profound learning experience for her personally and professionally. You can watch President Cordano’s October 3rd vlog at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIdBz9gnKuo.
President Cordano will continue to engage with members of the University community, using several approaches, including structured dialogue and restorative justice, before making any further decisions. She has asked the Gallaudet University Alumni Association Board of Directors to be a part of this dialogue. I have asked Robert Weinstock, ’77 & G-’83, Board Member at Large, to represent us in these discussions.
The Gallaudet University Alumni Association Board of Directors understands the importance of having a high-level position focusing on the student experience. At the same time, we support President Cordano in her decision to hold off on the creation of this new position pending further dialogue. Information about the community engagement process is forthcoming.
GUAA also wishes to applaud the efforts made by various stakeholders of the Gallaudet University community to reach a resolution. Alumni are a very important part of the community, and GUAA strives to be part of the solution to this situation. Please feel free to channel your thoughts and suggestions to your GUAA regional Board members. We in turn will share them with President Cordano.
You may reach your GUAA Board regional Board member at:
Home Region (MD, DC, VA)
Janet Weinstock, ’78 & G-’81
Donna Drake, ’69 & G-’71
Jose-Ovi Velasquez, AAS ’89 & ’04
Jennifer Kononenko, ’00 & G-’03
Thank you for your support of Gallaudet University!
Donalda Kay Ammons, ’74
Gallaudet University Alumni Association
Posted: 10 Oct 2017