The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

College announces new Division of Inclusion

Photo by Naomi Shertzer for The Lafayette
The Division of Inclusion was announced on March 6 in a campus-wide press release.

The college announced earlier this month that it will be creating a Division of Inclusion, encompassing the Office of Intercultural Development, commonly known as OID, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. Both offices were previously under the Division of Student Life. 

The new division will be led by Ernest Jeffries, the inaugural vice president for inclusion. Jeffries said the organizational restructuring will be completed by April 1.

He wrote in an email that this decision came from conversations with the college administration.

“As I came on board as the new VP of Inclusion, we discussed what made sense regarding forming my team,” wrote Jeffries, who was hired in October and stepped into the role in January. “It is a national best practice that offices such as OID and Religious and Spiritual Life be a part of [the] divisions of inclusion.” 

“This change will elevate both offices’ work,” Jeffries continued. “Both offices will have an expanded scope and be more focused.”

Sarah Moschenross, the vice president for student life, noted that while she will no longer oversee these offices, the Division of Inclusion and the Division of Student Life will continue to collaborate.

“I see that our work will continue to cross over with each other in really productive ways for students, and I think what students will see is a greater investment in the work of DEI and strong collaborations for the student experience between [Jeffries’] office and mine,” Moschenross said, referencing the diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that fall under the division’s purview. 

Moschenross cited initiatives on which she and Jeffries could partner: future projects could include expanding the Greek life system to include historically Black fraternities and sororities, increasing the number of DEI programs within residence halls and deciding on what entertainment to bring to campus.

Jeffries also noted that his division will be filling the vacancies left by former director of intercultural development Rob Young and former assistant director for intercultural development for gender and sexuality programs Tommy Lee. The two left the college for other positions this academic year. 

While the two full-time employee vacancies in the Office of Intercultural Development did not prompt the restructuring, Moschenross said the change was “organic.”

Jeffries “was here for a long enough time to figure out the structure he wanted to use, and there were two open staffing positions,” Moschenross said. “That gave him an opportunity … to be the hiring manager for those positions.”

College chaplain and director of religious and spiritual life Alex Hendrickson noted that she is looking forward to working with Jeffries within the new division.

“Dr. Jeffries has a depth of experience in creating and nurturing diverse communities, so I am excited about the chance to work closely with him,” she wrote in an email.

Within the division, Jeffries plans to create a strategic plan for inclusiveness and inventory existing DEI initiatives on campus with the goal of connecting them to “elevate the great work that is already being done.”

“Too many institutions create positions like mine, and that person is an office of one,” Jeffries wrote. “That model has proven to be quite ineffective. I am grateful that Lafayette College sees the importance of building a central team to help advance this work.”

Correction 3/22/24: A previous version of this article stated that Vice President for Student Life Sarah Moschenross and Vice President for Inclusion Ernest Jeffries are partnering on certain diversity initiatives. The pair is brainstorming ways to partner in the future. 

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About the Contributors
Grace Sanborn, Assistant Sports Editor
Thinks hitting a ball with a stick outside for four hours is fun.
Naomi Shertzer, Design Director
Making the paper pretty in print since 2021.

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