President and students clash over participation in CDO search


Courtesy of RWU Student Senate Youtube

RWU President Ioannis Miaoulis speaks about his disappointment in student CDO search participation at the Student Senate meeting on March 29.

Rachel Dvareckas, Managing Editor

University President Ioannis Miaoulis attended the Student Senate meeting on Monday, March 29 to discuss updates on the search for the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) among other topics. Most of the conversation with Miaoulis centered around his disappointment in student participation in four virtual interviews for potential CDO candidates and students’ disappointment with him.

“I have been a little bit disappointed in student participation,” Miaoulis said. “During my listening sessions on how we would replace the Chief Diversity Officer, we had lots of very vocal students.”

Miaoulis said there has been a very small number of students who attended the virtual campus interviews. Two of the three interview sessions only had two student participants. The interviews began on March 25 and the last one was held on March 30.

Some students were not happy about Miaoulis’ disappointment, along with the handling of the Black LLC incident last semester and the Maple Hall bias incident that happened at the end of February.

“Frankly, asking students to do the work to find the Chief Diversity Officer when they are already doing so much is a huge disappointment,” said Emily Craig, a student who attended the Student Senate meeting.

Craig said students have already told Miaoulis and the university what they want in terms of change on campus.

“Taking an effort to challenge the racist campus culture is what students have asked [Miaoulis] again and again to do,” Craig said.

Miaoulis disagreed with Craig and spoke about students using their voice on campus instead of complaining or sitting back and not doing anything.

“If you want a voice, you should put this voice in place and participate in picking this leader,” Miaoulis said.

Craig said it is a problem for the university to only consider student voices and opinions valid if they attended the CDO candidate interviews. She brought up the protests that occurred on campus last semester and the demands students have made, including increased communication when racist or bias incidents occur on campus.

Emma Trahan, a student who also attended the Senate Meeting, said people are using their voices but not at the CDO candidate interviews.

“Showing up means more than just going to a Zoom meeting,” Trahan said. “Students are showing up. They attended protests last year, they write letters to [Miaoulis’] office, they meet with their superiors. They tell me, as an RA, they don’t feel safe living here. That is showing up.”

Sophie Speliopoulos, a student on the CDO search committee, said one of the reasons students were not at the virtual campus interviews is because they had classes at the time of the interviews and did not know the times of the interviews in advance.

“I am disappointed. Although we are inviting students to give valuable opinions and only two people show up, to have folks criticize me and my administration for not caring, I think it’s ridiculous,” Miaoulis said.