Suarez Tapped for University’s Human Rights Access and Inclusion Post

Thursday, February 26 2009

Feb. 26, 2009

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Written by Tania Thompson

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho has selected Carmen Suarez to become its new human rights compliance officer. Suarez, who currently heads Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Office of Diversity and Equity, will assume her new Idaho post as director of the Office of Human Rights, Access and Inclusion on June 29.

“Carmen Suarez brings a wealth of experience that will build upon initiatives and activities already underway here at the University of Idaho,” said President Steven Daley-Laursen. “Her strength of strategic approach, leadership in community-building and sense of advocacy will serve our community well.”

Since 2004, Suarez has served as director of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s Office of Diversity and Equity, coordinating campus-wide diversity initiatives. Among the accomplishments during her tenure, she designed a faculty of color recruitment strategic planning and implementation program, as well as developed minority and undergraduate women student recruitment initiatives. She has taken particular pride in her work as an ally and advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, culminating in the establishment of the campus GLBT Resource Center in 2007.

Suarez also is trained as a conflict and dispute mediator as well as in sexual harassment investigation and adjudication. An additional activity included advising the SIUC Hispanic Student Council. From 2006-07, she also served as interim assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management.

“It is so exciting to be joining the University of Idaho to help lead the diversity initiatives,” said Suarez. “I have devoted my career to being an advocate and agent of change by promoting institutional equity and diversification on university campuses, and developing and participating in programs, initiatives and activities designed to make various populations feel welcome, wanted, accepted and successful. That is my goal for the University of Idaho.”

From 1997-2004, Suarez served as assistant dean for career services at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Law. She held various earlier positions with the Illinois university, including liaison to the Chicago metropolitan area Hispanic community and affirmative action officer. From 1990-93, she worked as an instructor and night administrator at John A Logan [Community] College in Carterville, Ill. From 1986-90, she was director of the Office of Hispanic Educational Development at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Suarez earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

The Office of Human Rights, Access and Inclusion reports directly to the president and one primary function is ensuring compliance and enforcement in areas of human rights for faculty, staff and students, ranging from equal employment opportunity policies and practices, ADA and Title IX compliance to affirmative action. An equally important function is developing diversity management initiatives that further build an inclusive campus community. The office works with many offices on campus, including the Dean of Students and Human Resources.

Suarez succeeds April Preston, the university’s director of employment services, who served an interim appointment as human rights compliance officer following the retirement of Andreen Neukranz-Butler in spring 2008.

More information about the office is available online:
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit

Media Contact: Tania Thompson, University Communications, (208) 885-6567,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit