Friday, September 25, 2020

MSU diversity adviser Paulette Granberry Russell leaves for California Polytechnic

July 1, 2020
Executive Management Director for the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives Paulette Russell speaks at a BSA Community Forum at Akers Hall on Oct. 22, 2019.
Executive Management Director for the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives Paulette Russell speaks at a BSA Community Forum at Akers Hall on Oct. 22, 2019. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Paulette Granberry Russell — Michigan State University's senior diversity adviser to the president — has been named the new vice president for diversity and inclusion at California Polytechnic State University, or Cal Poly, effective Aug. 31.

Former Honors College Dean Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore left her post in May to accept a position at Cal Poly as well, she will serve as provost, effective Aug. 1.

Russell, MSU's Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives director, was recruited as an emergency hire following the retirement of Jozi De Leon, Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong said in an email to the students Wednesday.

"I am excited to bring a professional with Paulette's expertise and experience to campus to lead and align our university wide efforts to build diversity and promote inclusion throughout our community," Armstrong said.

Armstrong said that this position is vital with the country's current discussions of racial justice and equality. He is confident Russell's experience will guide Cal Poly in the right direction.

In January, MSU announced Russell was going to shift from her position as senior adviser for diversity to serve as a special adviser to the president when the search for a chief diversity officer concluded. That search is ongoing.

Russell has worked as head of the university's Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives for nearly 22 years and is the current president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

She was the moderator of this year's Excellence in Diversity Awards Ceremony in February.

Russell, former MSU Title IX coordinator, was a key witness in the trial of ex-MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, centered around accusations Simon lied to police about knowledge in 2014 of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse.

Prosecutors in the case relied on police records as well as handwritten notes between Russell and Simon, aiming to prove Simon attended a 2014 meeting with Russell to discuss a Title IX investigation about Nassar's abuse. 

Simon's charges were dismissed in May due to lack of evidence.

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