July 6, 2017: Michael Nixon, an alumnus of Andrews University, has been named the institution’s first Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion.
His appointment was announced on the Andrews University website today.
The creation of the Andrews VP for Diversity & Inclusion role stems from promises made by the university after a student-produced video was posted on Facebook in February alleging pervasive past and current racism at the institution.
In the video, African American students called on Andrews to apologize within a week for the “systemic racism it has perpetuated on its campus.” It quickly went viral.
The institution responded in less than a week with a well-received speech by Andrews President Dr. Andrea Luxton and a video containing an apology from the university, as well as a series of promises.
One of these promises was that the role of Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion would be created.
Nixon’s position is a full-time administrative position. He will report to the president and the President’s Cabinet.
He is a graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He was offered the position after being selected from a pool of five finalists. The search process to fill the position took place over the last two months.
The job description for the VP position called for “spiritual, administrative and academic leadership for the equity and diversity vision, resources and programs across the University.”
A search committee consisting of faculty, staff and students was led by Andrews President Luxton.
The group conducted in-person interviews with five of the applicants for the job.
The two finalists for the position presented to the campus community in late June. They also met with university administrators as well as with leaders from the Lake Union and Lake Region Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists.
As he was interviewing for the job, Nixon said: “In all my years being associated with Andrews, I have never been more optimistic about its future than I am now. This renewed focus on seeking true, gospel-infused diversity and inclusion on campus is an amazing commitment.”
Nixon, who first came to Andrews at the age of 10, stressed in one of his presentations to the search committee that the work of diversity should be “a process that seeks to understand and respond to the complexities of our diverse campus community and commit to transform our perspectives through trust-building conversations and engagement that will work to revamp our campus culture permanently.”
He said the process would be “arduous work” and that mistakes would be made.
If Andrews community members could be committed to each other, “this shared commitment to be transformed — along with our commitment to Christ — will infuse us with his spirit and enable us to become the institution we have been called to be,” said Nixon.
President Luxton described Nixon as “an individual who has had to face challenging decisions on his faith commitment and his choice of priorities.”
Nixon currently serves as the legal coordinator for the Fair Housing Justice Center in New York City. In the past he established an Office of Service and Social Action at the University of Saint Francis while serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. In addition he worked with the Council of American Islamic Relations and in the John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Clinic while attending law school in Chicago.
Photo of Michael Nixon courtesy of Andrews University