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College appoints Chief Diversity Officer, establishes Diversity & Inclusion Plan Task Force

Tanhena Pacheco Dunn SUNY New Paltz  is pleased to announce the appointment of Tanhena Pacheco Dunn as Chief Diversity Officer. Pacheco Dunn was hired in 2012 as Executive Director of Compliance and Campus Climate and Title IX Coordinator.

Pacheco Dunn  has been successful in revamping the College’s search processes to increase applicant diversity and to help search committee members think more broadly about candidate strengths. She has also been instrumental in recent successes in the SUNY faculty diversity hiring program.

Pacheco Dunn supported the College’s 2013 LGBTQ task force survey and report, and development of ongoing initiatives such as the College’s “Allies” program. She has been a leader in the development of SUNY-wide policy and later state law that addresses proper response to sexual violence and appropriate support structures for those who report. She has also been instrumental in developing our ongoing initiative in cultural competence programming, and has both advised and joined President Donald P. Christian in responding to national and campus issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Pacheco Dunn came to New Paltz from Vassar College, where she was assistant director of Human Resources. She is a Vassar alumna, and earned a law degree at Albany Law. Raised within a Puerto Rican family in the Bronx, she is a first-generation college student and has “lived experience” that parallels the lives and experiences of many of our students and other community members.  She is personally and professionally committed to the work of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Diversity & Inclusion Plan Task Force
Additionally, the College announced its creation of the Diversity & Inclusion Plan Task Force charged with leading the development of a draft Campus Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The co-chairs of the 21-member task force are Rita Celariste, assistant director of the Educational Opportunity Program, and Professor Reynolds Scott-Childress (History) whose research and teaching have focused on the history of race as a social structure and broaching these difficult issues with students.

The task force is composed primarily of volunteers and nominees who came forward in response to the College’s solicitation of interest several weeks ago. This diverse group includes students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni. Members were selected to assemble expertise and capability in the intellectual grounding of this work, in strategic thinking, in strong teamwork and demonstrated community commitment, and experience to deal with legal, human resources, and related elements of diversity, inclusion, and equity. They represent diverse interests, backgrounds, orientations, values, experiences, and parts of the university, but are expected to contribute to this work beyond “representing” a particular dimension of diversity or intersectionality.

The draft campus plan that the task force will develop is expected to:

  • build on the many current efforts and programs at New Paltz;
  • be informed by broad consultation with the campus community early in the fall semester;
  • fulfill SUNY and best-practice expectations for sound plans.

The task force will meet before the end of this semester, begin its work during the summer, and gather input from the campus community on essential elements of the plan during September 2016. The task force will complete a draft plan for administrative review by Oct.15, 2016. Following review, the draft will be discussed with the task force and revised as warranted. After the President’s final approval, the plan will be submitted for SUNY review by the Nov. 1, 2016 deadline.

The full charge to the task force will be available for review on the Diversity website; that charge includes background and timeline, SUNY requirements for Diversity & Inclusion plans, and some of expectations for the process. The SUNY Campus Guide for Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Plan Development (provided in March 2016) provides a clear framework for the campus plan and a roadmap for work, also will be available on the Diversity website, along with additional resources that are informing the work of the task force.

Members of the task force are:

  • Rita Celariste, Assistant Director, Educational Opportunity Program (co-chair)
  • Reynolds Scott-Childress, Assistant Professor, History Department (co-chair)
  • Niza Cardona, Director, Student Accounts
  • Christopher Farrington, Student
  • Kenneth Goldstein, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Theatre Arts
  • Azer Khan, Student
  • Lisa Kozlowski, Human Resources Assistant, Human Resources
  • Julie Majak, Assistant Vice President for Administration
  • John McEnrue, Director of Facilities Design and Construction
  • Nazareth McNair, Student
  • Tanhena Pacheco Dunn, Executive Director of Campus Climate and Compliance, Chief Diversity Officer-designate
  • Andrea Paredes, Student
  • Jessica Purcell, Advisor, Educational Opportunity Program
  • Connie Perdreau, Director, English as a Second Language, International Programs
  • Steven Posada, Alumni Relations Officer and New Paltz alumnus
  • Elizabeth Reyes, Transfer Advisor, Undergraduate Admissions
  • Mary Ritayik, Deputy Chief, University Police Department
  • Rebecca Rodriguez, Coordinator, Institute for Disaster Mental Health
  • Anne Roschelle, Professor, Sociology
  • Jonathan Rust, Associate Professor, Psychology
  • Anthony Winn, Sr. Staff Assistant and Adjunct Lecturer, Black Studies; Chair, Alumni Council