SGA members to aid in search for new associate dean

A+Joint+Session+meeting+at+the+beginning+of+the+2019-20+academic+year.+

Media: Beacon Staff

A Joint Session meeting at the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year.

By Diana Bravo, Assistant News Editor

The Student Government Association unanimously appointed two members to a college committee that will search for candidates to fill a newly proposed associate dean position. 

First Generation College Student Senator Priscilla Beltran, and Student Accessibility Senator Harper McKenzie will represent SGA on the  committee. 

The associate dean position is a part of a new push from administrators to merge the Center for Health and Wellness and Emerson Counseling and Psychological services, announced Monday morning in an email from Vice President and Dean for Campus Life Jim Hoppe. The push comes as Jane Powers and Elise Harrison, the directors of CHW and ECAPS respectively, plan to retire at the end of the fall semester.

The associate dean would oversee the new health center. College officials will host a town hall discussion Wednesday night to solicit feedback on the proposal. 

The committee will outline its preferences for the position and conduct two rounds of candidate interviews. SGA Advisor Jason Meier said he hopes the first round of interviews will occur in November, with a follow-up round of interviews with finalists in December. He said the committee hopes to make their selection by the end of 2020.

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Executive President Lindsay Debrosse said Beltran and McKenzie’s lived experiences can assist the college in the search. 

“They really are the people to look at these candidates and see what the Emerson community needs,” Debrosse said in an interview. “I don’t think we really could have gotten better people to do it.”

Debrosse said she hopes the college hires a Black woman to the new position. 

“I always find myself being hesitant to really receive the help that I need, if the person that is talking to me or helping me doesn’t really understand [my perspective as a woman of color],” Debrosse said. “There’s a part of me that doesn’t really like saying that only because I feel like I’m kind of dismissing every other option. But I really think it’s a way to feel really understood and to feel seen, because there’s a lot of people of color walking on this campus.”

Earlier in the meeting, SGA also appointed Felix Bieneman, former selectboard clerk at Marlboro College, as the group’s new Executive Secretary. The secretary’s primary obligation is to take minutes at Student Assembly and assist the president with SGA-related projects. Selectboard was Marlboro College’s form of community governance. 

“I know that I can do the job and I enjoy the work and I would enjoy to continue to do it at Emerson and find out more about the student government structure here” Bieneman said at the meeting.