Emerson announces interim supervisor of Social Justice Center


Brianna O'Shaughnessy

Vice President of Enrollment Management Ruthanne Madsen.

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Vice President of Enrollment Ruthanne Madsen will serve as the interim supervisor of the Social Justice Center beginning Thursday, Interim President William Gilligan announced in an email Tuesday. 

Madsen’s appointment comes two days before Vice President of Equity and Social Justice Sylvia Spears is set to depart Emerson for College Unbound in Providence, R.I. Gilligan said that he and Spears agreed appointing a new person to head the SJC would be beneficial to the center and the college while the search for a new president is still underway.

“Recognizing that the College is engaged in the search for a new president who will shape the process for identifying the next vice president for equity & social justice, Sylvia and I agreed that a temporary reporting shift would serve to provide necessary support to the staff of the SJC, while also continuing to hold the College accountable to its commitments of equity and justice for our community members,” Gilligan wrote.

In her new role, Madsen will oversee the Social Justice Center, Elma Lewis Center, Healing and Advocacy Collective, and Access Equity & Title IX offices. Madsen will also serve as the representative for the SJC on the President’s Council and in cross-institutional working groups.

Madsen declined to comment to The Beacon Tuesday afternoon. 

In his Tuesday afternoon email, Gilligan said Madsen’s expertise and dedication to creating a more equitable environment for students at the college will aid her in this new role. 

“Ruthanne’s senior leadership position, depth of expertise in cross-institutional working groups, and commitment to advancing equity and justice for current and prospective students will allow for a continued connection between the work of the Social Justice Center and College administration,” he said.

Gilligan also credited Madsen for her previous work with the SJC, which he said has improved the experience of marginalized students at the college. Madsen worked alongside Spears to increase the community’s diversity through various means, including transitioning the college to a test-optional institution, increasing financial aid for BIPOC students, and creating pathways for undocumented students to receive scholarship funds.