the Joe Crowley student union stands with a banner reading "UNR welcomes you"

The Joe Crowley Student Union as it stands in Aug. 2017. The University of Nevada, Reno currently has four finalist for the Chief Diversity Officer position

Nearly ten months after the resignation of   the University of Nevada, Reno’s Chief Diversity Officer, Patricia Richard, the nationwide search for a replacement has been narrowed down to four finalists.The four candidates are Melanie Duckworth, Ph.D., Dwight K. Hamilton, J.D., Eloísa Gordon-Mora, Ph.D. and Carolyn M. Dunn, Ph.D. Each candidate will hold an open forum between Tuesday, Feb. 26 and Wednesday, Mar. 6.

The person hired will be “responsible for guiding practices and creating opportunities to define, assess and promote inclusive excellence, access, and cultural proficiency for faculty, students and staff,” according to a recruitment flyer sent out by the university.

University President Marc Johnson said in a statement in May 2018 the position will be full time and “dedicated to bringing elevated attention and energy to the breadth of issues and challenges we face.”

The search comes to an end after Richard’s resignation in May 2018. Her resignation and “a national search for a chief diversity officer” by the university was announced in a “Dear Colleague” letter by Johnson.

“He wanted to not rush right away in May into making a hire because he wanted to listen to the people who really are impacted by this position.” said Shannon Ellis, Vice President of Student Services.

During an interview with the Nevada Sagebrush in September 2018, Johnson said that he hoped to fill the position by Jan. 1, 2019. As of September 2018, the search had yet to begin.

“We are doing so many searches right now,” Ellis said. “Searches take a long time. We started all these searches last fall. It takes a long time.”

There is not a confirmed start date for the new Chief Diversity Officer, according to Ellis.

“I suspect the campus, not just the president, would like somebody [in the position] before we launch into the summer,” Ellis said.

Patricia Richard’s resignation was called for throughout 2017 and 2018 after a string of incidents brought diversity to the forefront of discussion at the university.

The incidents started with former university student Peter Cvjetanovic’s involvement with a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. Johnson released a statement shortly after, stating that Cvjetanovic would be allowed to continue his education at the university.

In late September, a University Police Services officer joked about shooting graduate student Kevin McReynolds during a traffic stop. McReynolds publicly called for Richard’s resignation in December.On Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, swastikas were found painted in the Church of Fine Arts’ graffiti stairwell. At the end of October, a University Police Services police officer dressed as Colin Kaepernick garnered national attention.


Taylor Avery can be reached at or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.