"Jose Villalba" Archive

SAC meeting to feature three speakers

Three speakers will be featured at the March 11 meeting of the Staff Advisory Council.  Open to staff and others, the meeting will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in Benson University Center, Room 401 B/D.

Speakers will include Erica Still, associate dean for faculty recruitment and associate professor of English; José Villalba, vice president for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer and professor of counseling; and Carmen Canales, vice president and chief human resources officer.

Still and Villalba will provide updates on the work of the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community.  Canales will provide talent updates.

The meeting and event schedule for the SAC is available online.

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Categories: Staff News

A message from the President's Commission on Race, Equity and Community

This message was sent to Wake Forest faculty, staff and students on Feb. 17 on behalf of José Villalba and Erica Still, co-chairs of the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community:

Dear Wake Forest Community,

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey for the institutional equity audit in the past week. Overall, 468 surveys were submitted, for an overall response rate of 4.02%. The survey is just one part of the auditor’s data collection process; they will also be holding individual interviews and a thorough document and artifact review in the next few weeks. Taken together, the data will contribute to a picture of the institution’s current position relative to its aspirations for a truly diverse and inclusive community.

We are also grateful to those of you who shared your concerns about the survey’s design, clarity, and methodology. Your questions about the accuracy and validity of the results are evidence of your commitment to achieving a more equitable Wake Forest, and we appreciate both the questions and the commitment. Your thoughtful observations are indeed shaping how we interpret the survey results, as well as how we will use them. The articulated limitations make it all the more important that the results be seen in the context of the additional data being collected.

A final note about the audit: we want to reiterate that it is designed to assess the institution’s efforts to create and sustain racial equity at the structural level. It is concerned with policies, protocols, and practices as they shape the experiences of students, staff, and faculty who are members of underrepresented groups on our campus. It is not a climate survey, which focuses on the feelings, relationships, and tensions experienced by the various constituents of the community. (In fact, conducting a climate survey may be one of the recommendations emerging from the audit and/or Commission, but that is yet-to-be determined.)

So again, thanks to everyone who has been engaged in this work thus far. We hope you will continue to ask questions, give feedback, and offer support. You can keep track of our work on the Commission’s website, and you are always welcome to reach out directly to us (José at villalja@nullwfu.edu and Erica at stillel@nullwfu.edu).

José Villalba
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer

Erica Still
Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion
Associate Professor of English

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Response to malicious emails

The following message was emailed to students, faculty and staff on September 19, 2019

Last week, an unknown individual or individuals with malicious intent sought to spread a message of bigotry, division and fear among members of our campus community through emails sent to seven members of our faculty and staff and five offices on campus. Our faculty and staff have worked to protect everyone on our campus while striving to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

We hear the questions posed by some of our students: can you see us, can you hear us, do you understand our lived experiences? Yes, we see you. Yes, we hear you. And, no, we cannot fully understand what some of you are enduring.

The emails, steeped in the vitriol of white supremacy and nationalism, were sent to individual and office inboxes associated with the Department of Sociology, the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ+ Center, and the Intercultural Center. These emails have hurt, scared, threatened, angered, and confused many on our campus in different ways. This cuts at the core of who we are at Wake Forest and impacts us all.

While none of the emails contained actionable threats or detailed a specific attack on our campus, they still managed to elicit the fear the sender intended. Wake Forest consulted with law enforcement and national threat assessment experts — including the FBI’s leading experts on domestic terrorism, white nationalism, and hate crimes — before deciding to continue classes and normal University operations. The increased police presence on campus and enhanced security measures will continue while the investigation proceeds.

Our decision to continue classes does not diminish the real emotions and concern some in our community still feel. We pledge to stand by all our students, staff and faculty when they experience hate and discrimination of any kind. We will revise protocols where necessary and improve on the processes that we know are effective. We must remember who we are as a caring and supportive community and move forward in the spirit of those values.

There are many sources of support for those of you who are affected by these hateful emails. The University Counseling Center (336-758-5273), the Chaplain’s Office (336-758-5210) and the Employee Assistance Program (336-716-5493) are invaluable resources, as are our friendships and circles of personal support. Please continue to look out for each other.

Sincerely,

Nathan Hatch, President
Rogan Kersh, Provost
Jane Aiken, Dean of the School of Law
Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College
Charles Iacovou, Dean of the School of Business
Penny Rue, Vice President for Campus Life
José Villalba, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Jonathan Walton, Dean of the School of Divinity

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A message from President Hatch

President Nathan Hatch emailed this message to students, faculty and staff on July 31:

Dear Wake Forest University Community,

Wake Forest University is wrestling with its own complex history, and as an educational institution is committed to: seeking and understanding the truth; acknowledging the full complexity of our history; and taking action to address past and present inequities in our community.

We have heard the concerns of members of our community regarding race, inequity and the lived experiences of some of our students, staff and faculty.  While there is no easy solution or quick fix to address those concerns, there must be constant and intentional movement toward improving the Wake Forest experience for all – especially those who contend with bias and prejudice all too frequently. Toward that end, I am establishing the President’s Commission on Race, Equity and Community, one part of a larger institutional effort to illuminate our history, address our present and reaffirm our commitments for the future.  Even as the Commission is assembling, other campus-wide committees are delving into the topics of slavery, race and memory, as well as bias, conduct and free expression. Additional training and educational opportunities have also been designed and implemented across campus, including unconscious bias training for student leaders and enhanced programming for incoming students during Orientation Week.

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Newly reconstituted review committee formed for Code of Conduct for students

On Feb. 6, the Division of Campus Life announced a new development in its revision process for the Code of Conduct for students.  Matt Clifford, associate dean of students, emailed this announcement to undergraduate students:

As a reminder, this year, the Wake Forest community has an important opportunity to contribute to and shape the Code of Conduct. In the fall, our office engaged the community in a period of public review and comment on suggested revisions to the Code. During the period, we received 42 comments, held six public listening sessions, and attended numerous other meetings with students, faculty, and staff.

This spring, a newly reconstituted review committee will consider comments that have been submitted and make recommendations for a final document. During the comment process, I heard the desire to have more faculty and student voices on the group. Our new group is composed of five students, five faculty, and four staff. I am pleased to share that the following individuals have agreed to serve on the Code of Conduct Review Committee:

  • Virginia Hamilton, student
  • Lizzy Woods, student
  • Isabella Ryan, student
  • Phillip Yurchenko, student
  • Maria Cortez-Perez, student
  • John Dinan, faculty
  • Erica Still, faculty
  • Rian Bowie, faculty
  • Michael Pisapia, faculty
  • Pat Lord, faculty
  • José Villalba, staff
  • Tanya Jachimiak, staff
  • Matt Clifford, staff, chair, ex-officio
  • Adam Goldstein, staff, ex-officio

The committee’s work will focus on the primary areas where feedback was offered. Our goal will be to understand the principles that have been shared in comments and find a balance that supports our community’s values and ideals.

As always, our website is the primary source of information about the revision. If you have any questions about this process, please contact me at cliffomw@nullwfu.edu.

Matt Clifford,
Associate Dean of Students, Student Conduct

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