Lahey wants black diversity director

By on October 27, 2010

President John Lahey specified his desire to hire a “high quality African-American” for the associate director of student diversity programming position at last Wednesday’s Student Government Association meeting.

Lahey said the university is still looking for the associate director of student diversity programming to work alongside recently-hired Diane Ariza, associate vice president of academic affairs and chief diversity officer.

“We could fill that position tomorrow if we wanted to but we very much want, now that we have a Hispanic in the case of the chief diversity officer [Ariza], an African-American for that particular position,” Lahey said at the meeting. “Even though there are more diverse, different groups that the [associate director of student diversity programming] works with, we think having that person be an African-American is very important to concluding that search.”

In response to an e-mail from the Chronicle, Vice President for Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell would not comment specifically on Lahey’s words, but said that Quinnipiac is working to increase diversity on campus and in the administration.

“It is an ongoing challenge and one all of us takes extremely seriously,” Bushnell said. “In recent years, we have had some success in diversifying the composition of our board of trustees, student population and faculty. As yet, we have had less success in diversifying the administrative staff, so we are taking steps to increase diversity among the staff, particularly at the most senior levels. There are several recently created positions that should enable us to make further strides in this area. Doing so takes time, and a lot of effort. I hope students will join all of us in doing everything we can to make this an open and inclusive community.”

On Tuesday, Ariza told the Chronicle she wants to believe she was hired “not because I was Latina, but that I was the most skilled.”

“And if I happen to be Latina,” she said, “then good for everybody.”

Ariza said the university has a responsibility to be thoughtful in properly representing different types of people through faculty and administration.

The university is also creating the position of vice president of human resources, Lahey said at the SGA meeting, whose responsibilities include the recruitment of all faculty, administration and staff. Lahey believes this position will be “successful,” especially with the addition of a “high quality African-American” for the open position of director of student diversity programs.

“We are all qualified,” Ariza said. “Even to say ‘qualified’ is undermining that all of us are qualified. We just want to hire the best person.”

Junior Jameson Cherilus attended the SGA meeting and expressed relief in Lahey’s words.

“Words cannot explain how extraordinary I feel that President Lahey is making a conscious effort to increase the number of African-Americans at high level positions at Quinnipiac,” said Cherilus, former Class of 2012 president. “I can finally walk around this campus now with my head up a little bit higher knowing that we will have a total of two high-quality blacks working at high level positions.”

Ariza recognized that the university is committed to diversity, but said they need to be more aggressive in how they bring about recruiting and hiring a diverse staff and faculty.

“These positions sometimes get stigmatized as a racial position and you want to be supportive of diversifying racially,” Ariza said. “I know [Lahey] wants people being effective. He wants effective leaders. If he can get greatness and they happen to be African-American or Latina or Asian then that’s all the better.”


About Matt Busekroos

Matt Busekroos
Twitter: @mattybooz
Year: 2012
Major: Print journalism
Hometown: Shrewsbury, Mass.
Dream Job: Writer for an entertainment trade magazine


  1. Caleb Gindl

    October 27, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Too bad we don’t have a high-quality Caucasian president.

  2. concerned

    October 27, 2010 at 11:38 am

    um… cant we just hire someone and not go out and say we need a “high quality african american”? yikes… and now that makes the hispanic woman who was hired feel she was hired based on that.. not good Lahey..

    • Rocko

      November 2, 2010 at 9:25 am

      Well, now you DO know why she was hired and it wasn’t for her high quality.

  3. Marcin Mazurek

    October 27, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I had to stifle a laugh when I read that headline.

    So yeah, maybe we have to take names off of the applications and replace them with IDs, then cut out the “Pick your Ethnicity” section, and hold an interview in a confession booth with a voice distorter to get someone hired based on their resume.

  4. Seth

    October 27, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Really, President Lahey? You really said that? Lahey should be ashamed of himself. Only a certain group of people can do the job properly? The way to create diversity on campus is to hire a person of only a certain race?


  5. Marky Dark

    October 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    why not a “low quality” African-American? Honestly, Lahey’s words sound like they belong on an 1840’s “for sale” poster in Alabama

  6. crt

    October 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    when your school’s president is this ignorant/moronic, it’s no longer a wonder why the student body is also so very intolerant. and just stupid in general.

  7. Idea

    October 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Step 1 = Non-African American applies for, doesn’t get, diversity job
    Step 2 = Sue Quinnipiac for discriminatory hiring practices
    Step 3 = Profit!!

  8. Obey Trice

    October 29, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Alright, I can see why a non-white is in order to be director of diversity: only a non-white can have the life experiences and perspectives necessary to understand what life is like being non-white at a very white school, thus helping him have an idea of how to fix it.

    However, Lahey sounds like he’s at the slave sale.

  9. Bravado

    October 29, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I’m interested in seeing how this debacle plays out. Two days later and no follow up to this story? Replace the word “black” in the title with another color, ethnicity or religion, and this would make the news.

  10. Bravado

    October 29, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Has the position in question been posted yet?

  11. Southern Bigot

    November 1, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Lynn Bushnell – Smart for not directly commenting on Lahey’s words.

    Ariza – good job defending racially charged nature of Lahey’s words

    Lahey – Seriously?

    Jameson Cherilus – bow your head in shame or better yet jump off Sleeping Giant. “high quality blacks”? You are as diverse as your words, you waste of life.

    • WredKneck

      November 1, 2010 at 6:53 pm

      Jameson is black, so don’t try to call him racist. He claims he was being satirical, I believe him. So should you!!!!! RAWRZzz

      • Ricky Williams' Bong

        November 3, 2010 at 11:37 am

        forgive me for not believing the ‘being satirical’ claim.

  12. QU Pride

    November 1, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    What am embarrassment for QU! Lahey is the public face of the university. He shames us all and makes us all look as ignorant as he is. Why is this clown still running our university into the ground? Board of Trustees, please fire him!

  13. Flaco

    November 2, 2010 at 7:59 am

    I lol’d.

  14. Caleb Gindl

    November 2, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Lahey should henceforth be known as “President Facepalm.”

  15. Mike S

    November 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

    “We could fill that position tomorrow …”

    Is he actually saying that it is much harder to find a high quality black than it is to find a high quality person of other ethnicity?

  16. Mike S

    November 2, 2010 at 9:09 am

    “Alright, I can see why a non-white is in order to be director of diversity”

    How about a white with a physical handicap? How about a white GLBT? How about a white with experience as a minority in another country?

  17. Micheal

    November 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    “If he can get greatness and they happen to be African-American or Latina or Asian then that’s all the better.”

    Why is it better?

  18. concerned.

    November 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    this is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever read…these comments are ridiculous.

    southern bigot…at least you admit your beliefs through this idiotic screenname. but try not to be so ignorant. why should he hang his head? he was asked for a quote, and the full quote wasn’t published. know your facts before you speak.

    and just to make sure I speak in your language so you can understand me- suck it, you dick.

  19. Gloria

    November 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Take a look at the last big of this piece about the legal implications of this issue. Something to think about.

  20. Innocent Bystander

    November 4, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I wasn’t aware humans were different ‘quality’ levels. And yes – bow your head in shame, getting caught up in race WLL make you trip over your own ignorance.

    • Innocent Bystander

      November 4, 2010 at 6:09 pm

      WILL * (sp)

      • Ricky Williams' Bong

        December 11, 2010 at 11:10 am

        people most definitely come in different quality levels…would you rather have warren buffet managing your company, or the guy who put your burger king order in the bag for you last night?

      • Ricky Williams' Bong

        December 11, 2010 at 11:10 am

        people most definitely come in different quality levels…would you rather have warren buffet managing your company, or the guy who put your burger king order in the bag for you last night?

  21. Christmasmen

    December 10, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true!

  22. Buy AcivirCream Online

    December 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm

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  23. Mitch

    April 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I’m out of lgeuae here. Too much brain power on display!

  24. Meeger

    April 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    the school talks diversity a lot. But what QU needs is not more racial or “sexual” diversity, but actual diversity of kids. It seems everyone is from the same places, majors in business or health sciences, likes the same things, etc.