Update on Office of Diversity & Inclusion Leadership
On Monday, October 5, Bennington College President Laura Walker shared an update regarding leadership in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion as part of her Monday Message to students, staff, faculty, and families.
President Laura Walker shared that Delia Saenz, current Vice President for Institutional Inclusion, Equity, and Leadership Development, has requested, and President Walker has approved, a modification to her appointment at Bennington.
“For personal reasons, Delia has specifically asked to switch over to an advisory role, and to do so in a reduced time appointment and in remote format,” said President Walker. “We wish to support her desire to attend to personal exigencies, even as we recognize that the reduction of her full-time commitment to the Office of Diversity & Inclusion will be a loss to us.”
Fortunately, Delia will maintain a connection as an advisor to President Walker and will continue to provide her expertise and passion to key select functions at Bennington (such as the President’s Working Group, oversight of the diversity interns, and consultation with HR/Provost's office on inclusion efforts related to faculty and staff development). The College will also ascertain the personnel needs of the office during this time to determine what is needed to maintain its commitment to equity and inclusion.
“I am incredibly proud of the work we have done to make Bennington a more inclusive, just, and welcoming place, and I am confident that this momentum will continue under President Walker’s direction,” said Delia Saenz, Vice President for Institutional Inclusion, Equity, and Leadership Development. “I look forward to assisting the President’s Working Group and its anti-racist initiatives in my new capacity in the months ahead. I am particularly grateful for the support and enthusiasm for the critical work of inclusion and equity that has been so readily given by the different members of the Bennington College community.”
“I hope you keep Delia and her family in your thoughts, and that we all continue to do what she has encouraged—to aspire to make Bennington an intentionally inclusive and equitable environment where we are guided by our intelligence and openness, rather than by habit,” said President Walker. “This is not a goodbye, but we will miss having Delia here on campus.”
Delia has been a key advisor in the development of the President’s Working Group—which will be composed of approximately 20 students, staff, faculty, alumni, and trustees—to envision a future for Bennington College that is more diverse, more inclusive, and is actively fighting against racism and exploring the intersections with class, gender, and other vectors of identity and positionality.
“The Bennington College community is grateful to Delia for her ongoing support of these efforts, even from afar,” said President Walker. “There will be plenty of opportunities for anyone in this community who wants to help advance our goals of inclusion and antiracism to participate in the coming months."