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UNC announces Darius Dixon as new head of Housekeeping Services

The University announced Wednesday it has hired a new director of Housekeeping Services, filling a profound leadership gap in a department undergoing sweeping reform.

Darius Dixon, deputy assistant director of housekeeping at N.C. State University and a UNC alumnus, will lead the University’s housekeeping department starting April 23.

Before working at N.C. State, Dixon worked for several corporations that provided housekeeping services for private and governmental organizations, according to an email to UNC students, faculty and staff Wednesday night.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Mr. Dixon’s broad experience and knowledge of the Carolina campus leading Housekeeping Services,” the email read.

Lea Holt, director of University Mail Services, has been interim director of the housekeeping department since former director Bill Burston left the University on Sept. 28.

Burston had been the subject of controversy within the department for months, along with former assistant director of housekeeping Tonya Sell, who left UNC Dec. 19. The pair’s respective departures left the University scrambling to find new leadership as it worked to accomplish other points of reform.

The department falls under Facilities Services, which has a leadership gap of its own. Former director Van Dobson left the University on Dec. 16. Ray Dubose is the interim director.

Dixon’s appointment comes as the department addresses allegations of discrimination, harassment and poor management that surfaced in 2011.

An external report issued by PRM Consulting Group — which was hired by the University — provided 45 recommendations for change in the department.

The recommendations centered on managerial training, better communication and a system in which more housekeepers can contribute to departmental leadership.

Former vice chancellor for finance and administration Dick Mann, who helped direct the housekeeping reform before his December retirement, said in a November interview that reforming the department is a deep, intensive process.

“Getting people more comfortable is going to take some time because people have to believe things are changing, and that is something that takes time,” he said.

“Really change the environment — that’s what we want to do.”

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