Civil Rights and Diversity director search yet to start

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

The Office of Civil Rights and Diversity pushes through their work load despite the departure of Cynthia Nichols, the former Civil Rights and Diversity director.

Robert Miller, the Eastern general counsel, is also the manager and supervisor of the office.

Miller said the responsibilities and work load is being divided amongst Heather Dragoo, the assistant director of civil rights, and Leah Reynolds, the interim assistant director of civil rights.

Miller said because of the fiscal challenges the university is currently facing, he is serving as their supervisor, which will allow the next president of Eastern to decide how the office will be run.

President Bill Perry’s presidential term will end June 2015. Miller said they have not begun the hiring and search process for a new director, despite the three-month departure of Nichols.

“I am intimately familiar with the process and responsibilities of the civil rights office,” Miller said. “I have continued to work closely with the civil rights office during my tenure as general counsel.”

Before working as the general counsel, Miller had worked at the office of Civil Rights and Diversity for nine years.

Miller said the position is similar to many other directors of any office. The director must file reports, be a forward thinker and provide leadership for the office.

Both Dragoo and Reynolds have worked closely consulting and making sure any issues get solved in a timely fashion, Miller said.

Miller said Dragoo has continued to review hiring files and paperwork since Nichols’ June departure. He added the process is moving along smoothly; however, hiring has slowed considerably.

The slow down as result of the hiring freeze has helped the office devote more time to work towards the goal of eliminating all forms of discrimination, sexual harassment and assault. Their goal is to also increase contact with students in the areas of diversity and sexual assault awareness, Miller said.

“Heather and Leah work very well together, and we all developed a good rapport,” Miller said. “We maintain good lines of communication and we regularly discuss initiatives, issues and resolutions.”


Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].