The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 1st

Still no timeline for Taffye Clayton's replacement

Clayton held the position for four years and left to pursue new leadership opportunities in higher education, according to a statement released by Felicia Washington, vice chancellor for workforce strategy, equity and engagement.

Washington said in an email there is not a timeline for a search to replace Clayton.

Following Clayton’s departure, Rumay Alexander, professor and director of the office of inclusive excellence in the School of Nursing and special assistant to the Chancellor, was appointed as the University’s interim chief diversity officer.

The campus was alerted of this change through a campus-wide email in July.

“My work is centered on continuing to provide strategic guidance and expertise, work with faculty, staff and students regarding diversity and inclusion initiatives,” Alexander said in an email.

Alexander said she is looking forward to continuing to create an equitable and flourishing environment for UNC.

The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs provides leadership for a University-wide diversity plan, monitors institutional diversity policy, provides assessment and research of diversity issues and works with multicultural programming and leadership.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have a seasoned interim chief diversity officer who is doing a fabulous job,” Washington said in an email. “Our primary goal is to foster an open environment for our faculty, staff and students — making sure their needs are met, so that our community can thrive.”

Jennifer Brown, interim director of Multicultural Student Affairs at NC State, said diversity and inclusion efforts are important in higher education to encourage students to celebrate who they are and feel welcome on campuses.

Brown said offices focusing on diversity and multicultural affairs are also pivotal in admissions recruitment and retention.

“You want to make sure that when you bring students to campus you want to be able to build community — that they feel welcome and included in anything that is going on, that any space on campus they could walk into and feel comfortable and be who they are,” she said.

It is unclear whether Clayton has pursued another position in higher education.

Aaron Epps, the outreach chair for the Black Student Movement, said Clayton’s departure was very sudden, and he felt the reason was very unclear.

“We found out through a summer program, named Project Uplift. Honestly we were told just that she was leaving, we still don’t know anything,” Epps said.

Epps worked with Clayton through the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs’ program Project Uplift.

“Certainly she’ll be missed. We all loved her, all the students and stuff,” Epps said.

“At the same time because we don’t know the reason that she left it’s hard to give our opinion because we don’t know what was going on.”


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