April 16, 2009
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
In light of the significant budget reductions that Smith is facing, I have decided with great reluctance to suspend the search for the Director of Institutional Diversity and leave the position vacant for several years. Given the value that our community places on diversity, excellence and equity, this was not an easy decision to make. However, when facing the trade-off between hiring a new director, at a fairly high salary, and preserving the jobs of several lower salaried employees, I decided the latter should take priority at the current time. I am now developing a plan to assign the responsibilities of the position in order to ensure that diversity remains the high priority at Smith to which I am committed. I will divide the responsibilities of the position into two areas -- compliance, the monitoring of hiring searches, and complaint resolution, and the development of programs (and advocacy for them) that enable the community to continue to grow in its understanding of diversity and commitment to it. I will change the jobs of two individuals currently on the staff at Smith to take on these tasks. In addition, I will create a diversity council, which I will chair, that will regularly bring together those people with responsibility for diversity at Smith so that we can continue to keep those important issues front and center on the campus's agenda.
I thank the search committee for its work, the candidates who gave of their time to come to campus to meet with us, and each of you who offered feedback and insights throughout the process. When the financial crisis eases, I intend to relaunch the search, building on the experience we will gain in the interim from a distributed model of diversity responsibilities and the work of a diversity council.
Carol T. Christ