The Johns Hopkins Gazette: January 8, 2001
January 8, 2001
VOL. 30, NO. 16


New Office for Equality, Other Issues

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The university is in the process of forming an Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Programs. The new university-wide office will bring together and expand upon the current Affirmative Action Program, disability services and Sexual Harassment Prevention and Resolution Program.

The head of the office, who will be given the title of assistant provost and director, will report to the university's provost. A search committee to fill the position was formed in August, and a selection announcement is expected to come before March 1.

The assistant provost will be asked to provide leadership and direction to the university's efforts to promote institutional equality and a diverse Hopkins community. The primary responsibility of the post is to assure that the university's programs and procedures comply with federal, state and local laws and regulations related to affirmative action and equal opportunity.

Steven Knapp, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, says the new office will serve to support and facilitate divisional efforts.

"We felt the establishment of this office would benefit the university as a whole because it creates a single forum where these issues can be discussed and dealt with," Knapp says. "Its creation allows us to sharpen our focus and be pro-active on equal opportunity and affirmative action issues and to add additional support and resources for people engaged in those areas."

The conception of the new post was spurred by the retirement last year of Yvonne Theodore, director of Affirmative Action Programs and university coordinator for disability services, and the departure of Christine Walters, director of the Sexual Harassment Prevention and Resolution Program.

"We thought it was time to re-evaluate our organization of these programs and possibly to enlarge upon them," says Estelle Fishbein, university vice president and general counsel, who will work closely with the new assistant provost. "We also thought there was some overlap in these two offices and it made sense to bring them together."

The office's staff will include a disabilities services coordinator, an investigator/complaint handler and related support personnel.

Edgar Roulhac, vice provost for academic services and chair of the search committee, says the assistant provost will be a "creative and knowledgeable" individual who will be well-versed in relevant laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Equal Pay Act of 1973 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the assistant provost's duties will be to receive, investigate and respond to internal and external queries dealing with equal opportunity and affirmative action issues. The individual also will maintain an institutional data base, conduct seminars and programs and act as a liaison with federal, state and local government regarding these issues.

Roulhac says the university received 123 applications for the position and is "fortunate to have such a talented pool to choose from." Follow-up interviews with the four finalists are scheduled in the coming weeks.

In addition to Roulhac, the search committee includes Susan Boswell, interim dean of Homewood Student Affairs; Patricia Day, senior director of the Office of Human Resources, University Administration; Linda Fried, professor of medicine, School of Medicine; Lawrence Hawkins Jr., administrative staff, Education Division, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education; Robert Lawrence, associate dean for professional education and Edyth H. Schoenrich Professor of Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health; Katrina Bell McDonald, assistant professor of sociology, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences; James Neal, dean of university libraries and R. Champlin and Debbie Sheridan Director of MSEL; Gerard St. Ours, associate general counsel, University Administration; Rosemary Varner-Gaskins, assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, Homewood Student Affairs; and Christine White, assistant dean, School of Medicine.