University administration sees major restructuring with new VP position

Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell joins the university in September. Photo: Cleveland State University

Cleveland State University announced the creation of a new administrative position on Friday.

The Vice President for Campus Engagement, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Special Assistant to the President will be “responsible for both leading and integrating our many student-facing support services including the offices of Residence Life, Health & Wellness Services, Counseling Center, Disability Services, Multicultural Student Affairs, Veterans Center, LGBTQ Office, Women’s Center & Student Center, Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Institution Equity, and the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement,” the announcement reads.

Filling this position is Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell. He is joining Cleveland State University after five years as Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost at the University of Toledo. Before that, he worked at Jackson State University, an HBCU and Mississippi’s only urban university, as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, and Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students.

The new position merges several roles on campus. The roles currently held by Dr. Shannon Greybar Milliken, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and Dr. Ronnie Dunn, Interim Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, are among them.

Dr. Dunn will return to the College of Urban Affairs as Executive Director of the Diversity Institute & Associate Professor. Dr. Greybar Milliken will not have a role at CSU moving forward.

Many of the offices and services overseen by the new VP role have seen recent departures of top staff members. Last year, residence life saw the loss of nearly all professional staff members, most of which have yet to be replaced among the transition to new housing operator Greystar. Three more offices- the Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center, the Military and Veteran Success Center, and the Office of Institutional Equity- also saw the recent departure of their directors.

The Counseling Center and Health and Wellness Services sparked student protest when the university began exploring the possibility of outsourcing them late last year, with the director, Katherine Oh, resigning in relation to the university’s decision.

Whether Dr. Cockrell is up to the challenge of seeing these offices through a tumultuous period remains to be seen. Dr. Cockrell joins CSU this September.

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