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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac’s two highest-ranking women of color resign days apart amid string of administrative turnover

The associate provost for faculty affairs and general counsel are now the 13th and 14th senior administrators to leave the university in the past 18 months

Quinnipiac University’s two most senior women administrators of color — Khalilah Brown-Dean, associate provost for faculty affairs, and Elicia Spearman, general counsel and vice president for human resources — announced their impending departures this month, bringing the total number of high-level resignations since October 2022 to 14.

Provost Debra Liebowitz on March 18 announced to the Faculty Senate that Brown-Dean, whose tenure at Quinnipiac has spanned nearly 13 years, would be leaving the university April 26 to take a position at nearby Wesleyan University.

Khalilah Brown-Dean, associate provost for faculty affairs, is leaving Quinnipiac on April 26 to take a position at Wesleyan University (Courtesy of Quinnipiac University).

“I feel very fortunate that Khalilah has spent the last 13 years sharing her commitment to students, faculty and staff here at Quinnipiac,” Liebowitz wrote in an email statement to The Chronicle Thursday. “The institution is certainly the better for it. She leaves big shoes to fill, and I look forward to all of the impact she will have in her new role.”

Quinnipiac President Judy Olian then announced to faculty Thursday that Spearman is also leaving next month to become the Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s next chief executive officer.

“I’m very sad to lose Elicia’s expertise, wise counsel and creative energy that she brought to all she touched at the university,” Olian wrote in the March 28 email. “Yet this new opportunity captures her longtime passion for female mentoring and development.”

Spearman, who joined Quinnipiac in 2020 as its inaugural in-house legal counsel, is departing the university on April 3. 

“As a Hamden native, it was very enjoyable to work in my hometown and serve as a brand ambassador for QU,” Spearman wrote in Olian’s email to faculty. “I’ll be rooting for more continued success for all Bobcats. This will be a new and exciting opportunity as CEO of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut — and I’m looking forward to this next step in my leadership journey.”

Caroline Park, a partner at law firm Wiggin and Dana who has provided outside legal counsel to Quinnipiac since 2012, will serve as acting general counsel until the university appoints Spearman’s permanent successor. 

Anna Spragg, associate vice president for human resources, will serve as interim vice president for human resources.

“As sad as I am to see Elicia leave, she is ascending to a tremendous leadership opportunity, a CEO role, something she has a life passion about,” Olian wrote in a March 28 statement to The Chronicle. “Quinnipiac is proud that highly talented individuals can expand their skill set while at our university and are thus positioned for further career opportunities.”

The consecutive resignations of the campus’s two most prominent women of color did not occur in a vacuum. Rather, they are indicative of an administrative mass exodus that has defined the university’s last year-and-a-half.

Quinnipiac has said goodbye to 11 senior administrators over the past 18 months: four vice presidents, three deans, two Title IX coordinators and now the associate provost and general counsel. 

Elicia Spearman, general counsel and vice president for human resources, left April 3 to become the CEO of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut (Courtesy of Quinnipiac University).

Three lower-level administrative officials — the director and associate director of multicultural education and training and the director of recreation — also resigned during this period.

Quinnipiac has named since permanent appointees to the vacant dean positions in the schools of nursing, law and communications, and the university’s fourth acting Title IX coordinator in 14 months took over in mid-March. Brown-Dean and Spearman also announced their imminent departures just weeks after the university made a handful of high-level administrative hires that appeared to buck the monthslong turnover trend. 

But taken together, a total of 14 high-ranking Quinnipiac officials, including seven administrators of color, have left the university since October 2022 — the rough equivalent of one departure every five weeks.

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Cat Murphy
Cat Murphy, News Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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  • B

    BobabooeyMar 31, 2024 at 2:11 pm

    This is only a story because of the color of their skin? We wont end racism with stories like this.

    • L

      LarryGamlsxApr 1, 2024 at 9:25 am

      Do you KNOW what Racism REALLY is? Most people really do not. They misuse the word all the time. Understand what Racism is and is not as you go forward.

    • S

      SRossLeeApr 1, 2024 at 11:05 am

      Racism started and continues in a vacuum of silence not with a cacophony of voices pointing it out.

    • T

      TApr 1, 2024 at 3:55 pm

      What Cat Murphy is reporting, is that half of the administrators that have left Quinnipiac have been people of color. It suggests that something is going on that is making them leave in disproportionate numbers. Quinnipiac would never ever admit to unfair, discriminatory or racist treatment of its staff or students, but can we really say that it hasn’t happened? There is a reason for all the departures, but it will continue to stay hidden and deliberately silenced and be perpetuated until exposed.

  • V

    VMar 31, 2024 at 10:29 am

    Well hey, at least a billion dollars a year gets students consistency and stability with faculty.

    Maybe another expansion on someone’s house could fix the issue?

    As long as nobody goes near Rand or the hockey team, I’m content as an alum who paid off my student loans in only 13 years!

  • T

    TMar 29, 2024 at 10:26 pm

    I wonder if the claims of discrimination by students against the Physician Assistant faculty and QU administration that ultimately led to the Department of Justice investigation had anything to do with Elicia Spearman’s departure. What is the real reason for the high administrative turnover, QU?