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Laís Martinez named interim VP of EDI

The Black Cultural Center provides a shelf filled with books, board games and upcoming events.

Laís Martinez has been appointed as the interim vice president of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She is replacing Adrienne Andrews, who resigned from the role in October. The role shift came at an uncertain time. Over the course of this semester, WSU had several incidents on campus, including anti-Semitic graffiti and racial slurs. Students, faculty and community members found these alarming.

Martinez served for seven years in the Utah System of Higher Education as an inaugural assistant commissioner for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

In that role, Martinez convened all of the college’s chief diversity officers, including the Dream Center Directors and LGBTQ advocates, and led efforts across the state.

Through her work with chief diversity officers, Martinez worked with Andrews and WSU President Brad Mortensen.

After Andrews resigned from her position at WSU, Mortensen contacted Martinez to serve as the university’s Interim Vice President of EDI.

Martinez has not decided whether she will apply for the permanent role.

“I have not made a choice whether I will be putting my name in the ring,” Martinez said. “I’m kind of just really committed to the idea of supporting in the interim position and then we’ll kind of take it from there.”

Martinez’s role at the Utah Higher System of Education will resume when the interim role ends at Weber State.

“I will say that I will go where it feels right, where it feels reciprocal, where it feels like a good fit, not only for me, but for the campus community,” Martinez said.

According to Martinez, the timeline given for her decision is a few weeks before they begin the selection process.

Candidates will go through a rigorous interviewing process, including with the departments that fall under the role of vice president of EDI, such as the Center of Belonging and Cultural Engagement, the LGBTQ Resource Center and the Hispanic Serving Initiative, which will play a significant role in the selection process.

Brandon Flores, WSU’s executive director for belonging, shared the qualities he seeks in a VP of EDI.

“Somebody who can understand how systems policy works, how to create change — someone who’s demonstrated that in their past, I think is good and valuable,” Flores said.

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