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WSU Appoints First Director of Non-discrimination and Compliance

WESTFIELD — Lawrence Johnson has been named director of non-discrimination and university compliance at Westfield State University. He officially joins the university on Monday, Oct. 20.

“Using existing funds for a position that we have chosen not to fill, we have created this new position to assure that we are doing everything we must and can do to meet state and federal requirements and provide a safe environment for everyone in our campus community,” said Elizabeth Preston, president of Westfield State University. “Our recent audit by the Mass. Office of the Comptroller suggests that a better coordinated approach to risk management through a dedicated position will build on what is already in place and will ensure we are adhering to the highest ethical standards.”

The position will focus on prevention and will include identifying any risks the university may face from internal policies or changes in local, state, or federal laws, as well as designing and implementing controls to minimize those risks and reporting the effectiveness of the controls. Johnson will also provide education and training, and is responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating the university’s Equal Opportunity, Diversity, and Affirmative Action Plan and initiatives to promote an inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff.

A lawyer, Johnson currently holds joint positions as associate dean of students at Rider University in New Jersey, and dean of students for Rider’s Westminster Choir (Music) College. He is responsible for upholding many legal areas, including Title IX, risk management, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, disability services, substance-abuse prevention, and multi-cultural affairs and community service.

Johnson has worked closely with human resources to provide sexual-harassment training to all corners of the university and assisted in the development of Rider’s Title IX policy in compliance with the Office of Civil Rights’ 2010 “Dear Colleague” letter and Violence Against Women Act. In addition to his role as dean, Johnson is an adjunct professor of American Studies, where he has taught the course “Law and Ethics in Higher Education.” He has been honored as an Omicron Delta Kappa inductee and academic advisor, was the recipient of the Angel on My Shoulder award from the Black Student Union, and was on the Law School Honor Code Committee at Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Johnson’s professional affiliations include memberships in the National Assoc. of College Student Personnel Administrators, the Delaware Valley Student Affairs Administration Assoc., the Delaware Valley Student Affairs Administrators Assoc., and the Assoc. of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey. He holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Saint Michael’s College, a master’s degree in higher education administration from Michigan State University, and a juris doctor from the University of New Hampshire Law School.

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