Appointment of the University Council on Equity, Inclusion and Intercultural Awareness

To: The University Community

From: Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President

Subject: Appointment of the University Council on Equity, Inclusion and Intercultural Awareness

Date: January 25, 2016

Over the past twenty-five years, Gonzaga University has developed and sponsored numerous programs and activities that have had, as their primary focus, a deeper, broader awareness of the importance of racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity at GU. The work of faculty, staff, students and administrators has focused on the lived experience of students and community members; increasing awareness of discrimination and ways of combating it; efforts to support students of diverse heritage and identity; and the importance of developing greater levels of intercultural sensitivity and competence through our academic and student development programs for the various constituencies of the institution. Despite these efforts -- as last November’s “Community Conversation” once again underscored -- incidents motivated and/or informed by racism, bias, and cultural insensitivity have occurred and continue to occur at Gonzaga, adversely affecting the lived experience of individuals and preventing the University from achieving the fullness of its mission as a Jesuit, Catholic and humanistic educational institution.

As I have previously indicated, it is my belief that systemic change in this critical dimension of our experience can only occur when the institution makes an active, intentional decision to create robust structures and embed these as a part of its governance -- structures that will afford it the opportunity to engage in continuous, comprehensive reflection, action and evaluation. The Council on Equity, Inclusion, and Intercultural Awareness is an example of such an entity. This Council, the formation and membership of which I am announcing today, will play an active role in working to assess the current “state of affairs” and propose institutional strategies for education, support, and intervention -- with the goal of increasing the level of intercultural awareness and sensitivity, providing an educational experience supportive of all people, and decreasing incidents of discrimination at Gonzaga.

In conjunction with the announcement of this Council, I am taking this opportunity to announce the decision to appoint Dr. Raymond Reyes, Associate Academic Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, as a regular member of the President’s Cabinet. Together with Chris Purviance, Assistant Director of Human Resources - Office of Equity & Inclusion, Dr. Reyes will Co-Chair the Council which will meet monthly during the regular academic year. I am grateful to the following individuals for their willingness to serve and represent the divisions of which they are a part:

Raymond Reyes

Associate AVP and Chief Diversity Officer


Chris Purviance

Assistant Director (HR), Equity and Inclusion


Falesha Ankton

Assist. Dir., Development & Alumni Relations, Law School

Staff Assembly Representative

Laurie Arnold

Assistant Professor, History/Director, Native American Studies

College of Arts & Sciences

Carla Bonilla

Assistant Professor, Biology

College of Arts & Sciences

Rajah Bose


University Advancement

Anny Case

Assistant Professor, Teacher Education

School of Education

Zac Chelini

Student, Class of 2016

GSBA Representative

Caleb Dawson

Student, Class of 2017

Student Development Nominee

Kari Elgee-Sanders

Office Assistant, Controller’s Office

Finance Division

Kem Gambrell

Assistant Professor, Doctoral Leadership Studies

Professional Studies

Heather Gores

Assistant Athletic Director


José Hernandez

Director, Rudolf Fitness Center


Heidi Holland

Assistant Professor, Research & Writing and Associate Dean of Students

Law School

Juanita Jasso

Director, UMEC

Student Development

Luke Johnson 

Student, Class of 2017

Student Development Nominee

Jim Jones

Associate Chief Information Officer

Information Technology Services

Ron Large

Associate Academic Vice President


Amber McKenzie

Director, International Student & Scholars Services

Center for Global Engagement

Sue Niezgoda 

Associate Professor, Civil Engineering

School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Shaniqua Nilles

Student Representative, Graduate Student – COML

Student Athletics Advisory Council

Molly Pepper

Associate Dean & Associate Professor

School of Business Administration

Stephanie Plowman

Associate Professor, Librarian, Special Collections

Foley Center Library Services

Bailey Russel

Student, Class of 2017

President, Black Student Union

Janeen Steer


University Ministry

Jane Tiedt

Associate Professor

School of Health Sciences

Analuz Torres

Student, Class of 2019

GSBA Representative

Jason Varnado

Associate Director, Disability Access, Center for Student Academic Success

Center for Student Academic Services

I very much look forward to the work of this Council and thank each member in advance for the contributions they will make to it, and in turn to our community.