Final VPSA candidate speaks with students


Sean Blackburn speaks to students during an open session livestream as the final candidate for the Vice President of Student Affairs search Monday afternoon.

Corryn Brock, News Editor

The final candidate for the Vice President of Student Affairs position, Sean Blackburn, answered student questions during an open session Monday afternoon. 

Blackburn is not currently working at any university, according to his vita, but last worked for the University of Wyoming as the Vice President of Student Affairs until September 2019. 

The university’s spokesman Chad Baldwin said Blackburn resigned from his position. 

In his vita, he said in the position he was “responsible for the co-curricular and student life services of the University of Wyoming” and “(collaborated) with faculty, staff, administration, and students to provide a comprehensive and holistic program that promotes student success.” 

The other universities he has worked for in the past include Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, the University of Wisconsin at River Falls and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. 

During the open session, Blackburn discussed with students his experiences with diverse campuses, Greek Life and conflict on campuses. 

Blackburn talked about the white power propaganda that was found on campus and said he knew about the situation after reading about it and the university’s response, calling University President David Glassman’s letter following the event a “strong statement.” 

He said he liked the Student Government and Faculty Senate response, which was a resolution from both denouncing the actions of those who put the fliers out. 

Blackburn said he believes it is important for services to be made available after situations like that to remind students of the university’s values and to create an incident response team. 

 “An incident response team would have faculty, staff and students and particularly student leaders on it, and we would meet regularly throughout the year to prepare for situations like this because the sad fact is that we’re going to have to keep facing these challenges, so that response team would talk about policies and make sure we have good policies and procedures in place,” Blackburn said. 

He said the team would include a post-response report to get feedback from students and see where they could improve their responses to similar situations. 

He said to the students in the open session he hopes they were given resources after the event that took place. 

“I hope you all were given resources, and I hope you take some comfort in the messaging that I read as an external person,” Blackburn said. 

Blackburn said he would have been with students during the march that followed if he were on campus at the time. 

Blackburn also said he has experience as a Greek adviser, is an alum of Delta Tau Delta and a strong supporter of fraternity and sorority life. 

He said he is interested in helping strategize with the Greek Life Office on increasing the amount of people who are Greek-affiliated, especially members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council that serves the Divine Nine, a group of historically black fraternities and sororities. 

Blackburn said he would invest in Greek Life if chosen for the position. 

Blackburn said he would also be interested in helping registered student organizations increase turnout for their events. 

Blackburn said he was interested in Eastern because of the students it serves. 

“I’m attracted to Eastern Illinois because of who you serve. It’s a diverse community. I love that (Eastern) is veteranfriendly, family-friendly and I love that there’s focus on student success,” Blackburn said. 

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]