4 December 2023 |
Dr. Danielle Pilgrim, Interim Chief Diversity Officer at Andrews University, turned in a letter of resignation on Friday, December 1, informing the administration of her decision not to extend her contract or apply for the newly posted position of Assistant to the President for University Mission & Culture, citing her last in-office day as December 8th. The following include some of the concerns listed within her letter:
- Issues with New Administration and Leadership: She highlights various demeaning, dismissive, and harmful practices by the new administration and certain leadership figures, including the new chair of the Andrews University Board of Trustees Student Experience & Faith Development Subcommittee and the Board Chair. According to Dr. Pilgrim, these practices have eroded trust, psychological safety, and fostered a lack of inclusion. Specific incidents include the unauthorized recording of her presentation and inappropriate questioning of her personal beliefs.
- Concerns about Institutional Decisions and Policies: Dr. Pilgrim raises concerns about recent institutional decisions, such as replacing the Vice President for Culture and Inclusion with a new role that narrows the scope of diversity and disregards various social identities. She argues that this decision overlooks significant issues such as racial and ethnic diversity in faculty, experiences of students with disabilities, and challenges faced by low-income and first-generation students.
- Exclusion of Diverse Perspectives in Decision Making: The letter criticizes the administration for not including diverse perspectives, particularly the Institutional Diversity, Inclusion, and Action Council (IDIAC) in the decision-making process regarding the new position. This exclusion is seen as a disregard for the committee’s role and expertise, and a failure to uphold the university’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The letter concludes with Dr. Pilgrim’s expressing sadness over the negative experiences that have marred her otherwise meaningful tenure at the university. The full letter can be read here.
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