Ameer to depart following restructuring

by Carter Brace | 1/12/17 2:45am

The position of vice provost for student affairs, formerly held by Inge-Lise Ameer, has been eliminated by provost Carolyn Dever and the responsibilities transferred to Dean of the College Rebecca Biron. Ameer will not remain in another position at the College.

Ameer filled the newly-created position of vice provost for student affairs in July 2015, leaving her previous position as interim Dean of the College which she had held since August 2014. The position assumed many responsibilities previously held by the Dean of the College, including issues of residential life, academic advising and student life. Another responsibility included oversight of organizations such as the Office of Greek Life, Dick’s House, Collis Center and the judicial affairs office. The Dean of the College was repositioned as a faculty position responsible for student academic life.

At the time, Dever said the new vice provost position would increase oversight of student life and streamline administrative positions.

Now, however, she says that she supports recombining the two roles.

“We saw an opportunity to consolidate the two roles [of Dean of the College and vice provost], and I think there’s a tremendous benefit to having a tenured faculty member [as Dean of the College],” Dever said.

She added that a faculty member will bring “real credibility and expertise” in both academic and student affairs contexts.

Biron said that Dever reorganized the senior administrative positions to simplify the structure and streamline communication for student affairs.

One of Ameer’s highest profile actions during her time at the College was reintroducing the policy that no student could live in a Greek Letter, undergraduate or senior society facility that is not recognized by the College. The policy had previously been in place but lapsed inadvertently in 2011. The decision came following the derecognition of Alpha Delta fraternity in April 2015. The policy has also affected Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, which was derecognized in February 2016.

The most widely covered controversy surrounding Ameer arose in the fall of 2015, after a Black Lives Matter protest in which student protestors shouted at several other students in Baker-Berry Library. The protest originated on the Green in support of black students at the University of Missouri and Yale University. Some alleged that the protest grew aggressive, even to the point of violence, and that the protestors used racial epithets against other students.

At an “emergency meeting” shortly after the incident hosted by Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity to discuss racial issues on and off campus, Ameer said that the protest was “a wonderful, beautiful thing.” In response to critical coverage of the protest by conservative outlets, including The Dartmouth Review, she said that “there’s a whole conservative world out there that’s not being very nice.” The comment received criticism from national conservative media outlets, who saw it as evidence of liberal bias by Ameer. She later apologized for the remark about conservatives in a letter to the editor of The Dartmouth.

For much of her time at the College, Ameer also helped to implement the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative, which has led to the implementation of policies, including a hard alcohol ban and a new housing system. Ameer also oversaw the decision to suspend 64 students in Religion 064: “Sports, Ethics and Religion” class and expel two students responsible for starting the Morton fire.

Before being appointed as interim Dean of the College, Ameer served as associate dean for student academic support services, where she was in charge of academic advising and student life initiatives. In this role, Ameer centralized the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, the pre-health advising program and the Undergraduate Dean’s Office. She was also responsible for helping to continue and expand the First-Year Student Enrichment Program.

Both Biron and Dever said they were appreciative of Ameer’s work as vice provost.

“I think it is one tough job, and she did a terrific job at it,” Dever said.

Dever declined to comment on whether Ameer resigned or was fired from her position.

Student Assembly president Nick Harrington ’17 said that he and other student leaders are pushing for clarity on which specific administrators are responsible for which policies in student affairs.

Turnover has been frequent in senior administrative positions in recent years. When Ameer became acting Dean of the College, she was the sixth person to hold the position in a decade. At the same time, the President, Provost and Dean of the College had all seen turnover in the two years before Ameer came to be acting Dean of the College.