Search For a New Greek Life Director Stalls

Kate Preziosi

Over seven months ago, the search began for a new Director of Greek Life. It has now temporarily closed with little chance of finding a replacement by the end of the fall semester. The position was left vacant as of January 5 when Tim Mansfield took on a new role as the Director of Alumni Affairs. Previously, Mansfield had served as the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Greek Life for eight years.

Members of the administration and student Greek leaders closely involved with the search were in agreement that none of the three candidates interviewed on campus in the spring semester were fit for the job. Senior Jenna Weber is currently serving as the Panhellenic representative for the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and was a member of the student search committee. The student groups represented included the Panhellenic Association, the Interfraternity Council, multicultural organizations and individual Greek chapters.

“We felt pretty strongly that the candidates weren’t prepared for the particular situation of Greek Life on campus as far as the recent downsizing goes,” Weber said. “For example, one candidate came from a campus with growing Greek Life, and had some ideas for the position that simply wouldn’t be feasible here. We had hoped for someone with relevant experience who could really identify with us as well as with the administration.”

President of the Colgate Panhellenic Association senior Michelle Vatalaro also participated in the selection process. Vatalaro agreed that the top priority for Greek Life right now is “to have a strong person who will act both as an advocate for Greeks and as a liaison with the University.”

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Scott Brown explained that the search would remain closed while the administration reorganizes the division that supports Greek Life and The Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI).

“We would like to have an Assistant Dean for Campus Life, which would be a fairly senior dean position, with Greek Life and CLSI reporting to him,” Brown said.

He noted that this proposal is in the preliminary stages and would need to go through a clearance process before a national search could be conducted. If the proposal for a new Assistant Dean for Campus Life is indeed approved, the administration could begin the search process as soon as the spring semester. This leaves the possibility that Mansfield may never be replaced. Regardless, Brown maintains that the typical student wouldn’t notice the difference.

“We have carefully designed the interim piece so that there are still many different levels supporting the students,” Brown said. “We have a lot of confidence that Rick (McClendon, Interim Director of Greek Life and Assistant Director of Residential Education) is right for the job of working with the student Greek leaders. He brings a lot of experience from different places, having been an officer in his own chapter.”

“It really depends on finding the right person,” Brown said. “We want the key stakeholders to be able to meet and evaluate the candidates. It really is a sophisticated leadership challenge to be a Greek Leader, and we want to support them as best we can.”