Following controversy, Susan Taffe Reed removed from position as Native American Program director

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 10/1/15 1:34pm

Following both internal and external criticism, recently appointed Susan Taffe Reed will no longer serve as the director of the Native American Program, College spokesperson Diana Lawrence confirmed in an email.

Lawrence wrote that the external “distraction around [Reed’s] appointment” prevents her from being able to effectively serve students as director. She will remain at the College, and administrators are “exploring other opportunities” for her.

Reed assumed the director role on Sept. 1 and quickly experienced disapproval from Native American students and alumni after a post on the blog “FakeIndians” claimed that Reed is of solely Irish descent. Reed identifies as a person of mixed Native and European ancestry and is president of the Eastern Delaware Nation — a federally unrecognized tribe that allows non-Native people to join as social members.

Alumni took greater issue with the fact that Reed apparently misrepresented her ancestry than with the fact that she is allegedly not of Native descent, with several saying this should not be a prerequisite for the position. Others said that it may be more difficult for Reed to advise Native students from reservations if she does not have that lived experience.

The controversy surrounding Reed’s appointment was covered in the Wall Street Journal, Inside Higher Ed and other national news outlets.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.