The recent resignation of Ed Willis, dean of students, leaves a
void in the University community, according to students and
administrators. Willis worked with student groups to help them
achieve their goals and acted as a liaison between students and
administrators. His departure leaves many student groups without a
supervisor, a problem the University hopes to fix by the fall term,
said Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper.

“The general consensus was that he would be around a long
time and he’d be a key player in resolving all these
(student) issues,” said LSA junior Jon Anderson who worked
with Willis as the Vice President of Internal Affairs for the
Interfraternity Council.

Anderson added that Willis helped the council negotiate
potential policies with the administration such as delayed rush,
alcohol-free housing and live-in advisors. For this reason
acclimating to a new dean may be difficult.

“Students would feel more comfortable knowing Dean Willis
was in charge. This is not something that was wanted,” he
said. He’ll certainly be missed and we’ll be at a
disadvantage without him.”

Administrators said they will also have a hard time replacing
Willis.

“Any time you have a person who works well with students
leave the University, you never replace the person, because I
don’t think people are replaceable in that respect. They
bring their skills and strengths so what you will miss are their
unique strengths and abilities. And that is what we’ll
miss,” Harper said.

In addition to being involved in many committees and student
groups, Harper said that Willis headed the Fan Behavior Committee,
designed to ensure a celebrative and respective football season.
Willis worked with student groups, the athletic department and
others to guarantee “a great celebration for the 100th game
against Ohio State.”

“The goal was that we would be leaders and the best both
on and off the field,” she said.

In the next three to four weeks, Harper will create a
transitional plan to fill Willis’ position. The transitional
plan will direct student units to their new supervisor, in addition
to appointing an interim dean. Currently, the University has not
filled the position of interim dean and does not have anyone in
mind for the new dean of students.

“Certainly our goal is to have someone in place before
school starts,” Harper said.

Willis said in an e-mail to his colleagues last week that his
reasons for resignation were personal and family-related, a
decision that administrators said they support.

“I respect his decision … in making his family the
priority and really wish him well,” said Stephanie
Pinder-Amaker, assistant dean of students.

Pinder-Amaker added that since Willis and his family live in
Toledo, commuting might have been more challenging than his family
had expected, “which may be reflected in the relatively short
period of time he was here.” Willis declined to comment on
the exact reasons for his resignation.

Assistant Director of the Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual
Transgender Affairs Kelly Garrett said that although Willis was
successful in helping the office secure a permanent part-time
Education Coordinator, anyone in the dean of student’s
position would do the same.

“He helped us out as much as he could, and we’re
very grateful for it, but a lot of different components went into
it,” Garrett said.

“For the future, I hope that the Office of LGBT Affairs
can continue to have a strong relationship with the Dean of
Students Office and our new Dean, whoever that may be,”
Garrett added.

Willis took part in numerous committees, such as the Diversity
Committee, and was responsible for various student units such as
Student Legal Services, Greek Life, Lesbian Gay Bisexual and
Transgender Affairs, Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs and the Office of
Student Activities and Leadership, according to Harper.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.