Guest Opinion: Grappling with TaJuan Wilson’s departure

The president of UI Students for Disability Advocacy & Awareness writes on the resignation of the associate VP of diversity, equity and inclusion.


Ryan Adams

MUSC Executive Director of Student Programs and Student Diversity TaJuan Wilson speaks during the forum for the associate vice presidency of diversity, equity, and inclusion on March 25, 2019.

I am still dazed after the Aug. 15 announcement. From the very start, TaJuan Wilson repeated over and over again that becoming the associate vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Iowa was his “dream job” — and when he was selected, I was so so happy to see that dream come true for him. 

While I absolutely want to leave room for Wilson to address his leaving in his own time and to the extent he sees fit, it’s impossible to keep the mind from questioning just how bad the realities of this institution must have been for him to leave his dream job within the first two months. 

And who could blame him?

My heart goes out to all of the staff, faculty, and students doing diversity, equity, and inclusion work on this campus who are surely shaken and hurting right now — particularly the staff, faculty, and students of color. I can only hope that Wilson’s departure will serve as a blaring, in your face, institutional wake-up call for every person employed on this campus. People who, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, have “failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. We cannot continue to sweep our failings under the rug by being more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.” 

Acknowledgement, ownership, and committed action is the only way we will ever be able to successfully and sustainably move beyond the messages of “diversity” and “tolerance” of yesteryear.

— Kaydee Layne Ecker


UI Students with Disability Advocacy & Awareness