Firings, open positions cause for questions


Fernando Jimenez/Guilfordian

Antonio Jefferson, one of three candidates in line for Director of MED, speaks to students and staff on Feb. 5

“Let me start by saying that I’m unaware of any ‘firings’ that have occurred at Guilford (College),” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Todd Clark in an email interview.

Yet, at the end of fall semester, Director of Student Judicial Affairs Sandra Bowles, Assistant Dean of Students Jen Agor and Director of Public Safety Ron Stowe were given the boot, adding to the previously unfilled positions of associate ddan of students, director of Public Safety, director of multicultural education, director of institutional technology and director of philanthropy.

However, over J-Term, the College made some progress in filling the vacancies.

“Since Jan. 1, we have new employees in building services/housekeeping, advancement, IT&S, admissions/enrollment (and) business faculty,” said Director of Human Resources and Payroll Richard Williams.

Even so, the open positions grabbing the most student attention are associate dean of students, director of judicial affairs, director of Public Safety and director of the multicultural education department.

“The director of judicial affairs and the associate dean of students left the college during finals week,” said Community Senate President Molly Anne Marcotte. “Students were very caught up in their final projects and exams, and the news that those two positions were now empty was both abrupt and alarming.”

While no information has been publicly released about the search for a director of judicial affairs and an associate dean of students, open forums were held from Feb. 1 to 5, featuring three candidates for the Director of MED.

Associate Dean for Academic Administration Erin Dell and Associate Professor of Justice & Policy Studies Barbara Lawrence are co-chairing the search committee.

The candidates are Barbara Johnson, director of inclusion and intercultural initiatives at Carlow University; Stephanie Chang, adjunct faculty at New England College; and Antonio Jefferson, director of the multicultural center at Connecticut College.

“Director of MED Jada Drew left last fall, and Irving and Parker have been doing a spectacular job of supporting students this semester, but that is a huge undertaking with their pre-existing positions, and the department needs at least one more person,” said Marcotte.

“Additionally, the MED needs more support and more compensation — they do so much for students, and the amount of unpaid emotional labor they put into their work is unparalleled.”

The available director of P-Safe position presents similar urgency. However, after the departure of previous director Ron Stowe, the P-Safe  department has continually declined to comment on the issue.

“The department of Public Safety is undergoing their own accountability and self-reflection process from having such inexcusable actions from their director, but that does not excuse their lack of transparency in searching for a new director,” said Marcotte.

For all open positions, faculty agree on one basic requirement.

“(Any candidate should have) a sincere desire to work for what is best for our students, and values that are in keeping with Guilford’s core values,” said Director of Counseling Center Gaither Terrell.

“Preference will be given to qualified candidates who also demonstrate a commitment to recruiting, retaining, mentoring and actively engaging with under-represented and underserved populations both on campus and in the broader community,” said Williams.

The Guilfordian’s interview with Todd Clark concluded with the following statement:

“Overall, I would say that any staffing change comes with challenges, but that we are looking forward to building a strong team to provide the best education and learning opportunities possible for our students,” said Clark.

In the meantime, Guilford patiently waits for a knight in hiring armor.