From Sabah: Equal Opportunity Office Leadership Transition

Dear Colleagues,

I want to share with you a leadership transition in Western Washington University’s Equal Opportunity Office.

Drew Nishiyama, Interim Director of WWU’s Equal Opportunity Office, will be joining the State of Washington’s Attorney General’s Office as an Assistant Attorney General, beginning in June. I have appreciated Drew’s leadership of the EO Office over the past year and want to thank him for his dedication and service to Western. We will greatly miss Drew, and wish him the very best in his new role.

A national search for a new Executive Director for the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance (presently the EO Office) is on-going, with the assistance of Keeling and Associates. While we complete the search, Melynda Huskey, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services, will assume oversight of the office June 1st. Melynda served as Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Student Affairs from 2011 to 2017 at Washington State University, experience which will be particularly helpful as we prepare to implement the new Title IX rules promulgated this month, and which must be in place by August of this year. She has also been serving as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Western since December 2017.

In order to give her attention to this effort, Melynda is stepping down from her role with Western’s COVID-19 Incident Command Structure (ICS) team, where she has served as the commander of the ICS since its inception in March 2020. Melynda and the ICS team have done an incredible job in enabling the university to respond to the urgency of coronavirus pandemic. I am most appreciative of her service on the ICS team. As we transition from a crisis situation associated with the initial phase of the pandemic to more institution-wide longer-term planning, we are gradually transitioning the work of the ICS to the regular administrative and governance structures of the university, though we expect that the ICS will continue to perform several important functions over the next few months, particularly those focused on health and safety considerations. I have asked Rich Van den Hul, Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs, to take over as Commander of the ICS.

The vital work of the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance—education and training, investigation of discrimination claims, support for search committees, Affirmative Action planning, and Equal Employment Opportunity administration—will continue without interruption during this transition. I want to thank the Office staff for their commitment to the work of the Office and their understanding and patience as we work through the leadership transition.


Sabah Randhawa