Shontay Delalue named senior vice president and senior diversity officer

by Gigi Grigorian | 2/11/21 2:15am

Source: Photo by Peter Goldberg Photography

On Feb. 4, the College announced that Shontay Delalue will serve as the College’s senior vice president and senior diversity officer, the administration’s point person on equity and inclusion. Delalue, who currently serves as the vice president for institutional equity and diversity at Brown University, will assume her role on July 1.

Delalue will be the first person to serve in the role after it was elevated last summer to a senior administrative position. The role has been vacant since vice president of institutional diversity and equity Evelynn Ellis retired last summer.

In the new position, Delalue will oversee the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, which will soon include the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative, the Inclusive Excellence project and the Title IX Office. As senior vice president, Delalue will join the College’s senior leadership group, which includes top administrators from across academic and business functions and meets with College President Phil Hanlon weekly.

Dia Draper, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at the Tuck School of Business, said she believes it is important that the position was elevated to a senior level.

“To have this body of work in the president's key senior leadership portfolio will help the senior leaders of the institution make decisions across all the functions and responsibilities that we do here at Dartmouth,” Draper said.

Delalue echoed Draper, stressing that the promotion of the role signals the place of diversity in the College’s “administrative voice.”

However, the timing of the position’s creation has led some students to question whether the elevated role will lead to any institutional change. The College announced that it began its search to fill the role last summer, on the heels of highly publicized Black Lives Matter protests and pressure from students and alumni to address systemic racism at Dartmouth.

“This is a good PR move right now, but I want to know that [the College is] actually going to be giving [Delalue] the agency to do what the community needs,” Marina Cepeda ’21 said.

Cepeda added that she hopes Delalue will be given the help and resources necessary to implement change.

History and Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies professor Matthew Garcia, who served as co-chair of the search committee for the position, said that Delalue will have the freedom to do what she thinks is best for the College.

“There’s no plan for her to fit herself into,” Garcia said. “It’s really the other way around. She’s going to bring ideas and plans that we’ll entertain and act upon hopefully.”

Delalue said she looks forward to the opportunity to “build” in her new position at Dartmouth.

“When I came into the role at Brown, our strategic plan was already launched,” she said. “What I see at Dartmouth on the horizon is an excitement and an urgency to jump in and take this work to the next level. I’ll be able to come in and help create that roadmap.”

To help her best engage at a strategic level, Delalue said she hopes to establish a student advisory board to bring in student voices. At Brown, Delalue said she convenes a student group, including both undergraduates and graduate students, to keep a pulse on what matters to students.

Delalue also noted that she will prioritize communication with the Dartmouth community so that there is a clear message of “where the institution is going” with regard to diversity and inclusion.

Garcia said that Delalue had the experience that the search committee was looking for.

“She spoke with a clear, holistic vision which included everything from students and faculty and staff to alumni and administration,” Garcia said, noting that Delalue included alumni in her vision, while other candidates did not.

Delalue said that she wanted alumni, who are “forever” a part of the College community, to be able to return to Dartmouth and see evidence of change since they were students.

“My ultimate goal will be to set the kind of initiatives that will allow for change that is long-term,” she said.

Garcia noted that there has been some “frustration” in the past when Dartmouth has not achieved its goals related to diversity, equity and inclusion, specifically related to retaining faculty of color and Title IX adherence and adjudication. He said he thinks that Delalue will help hold the institution accountable for these goals.

Garcia also said that he believes Delalue has the vision to lead initiatives like C3I and Inclusive Excellence.

“There’s urgency that is already there from alumni and the Board,” he said. “We heard that the campus — the faculty, staff, administration — were ready to more forcefully move those initiatives forward,” he said.

After the departure of former C3I director Theodosia Cook last April, government professor Dean Lacy and Title IX coordinator Kristi Clemens have served as interim co-directors of C3I. While they chose to continue ongoing initiatives, there have been no new initiatives or hiring within C3I, and these responsibilities will fall to Delalue upon her arrival at the College.