Seval Yildirim, the vice president for diversity initiatives at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has been selected to be UB’s next vice provost for inclusive excellence, UB President Satish Tripathi announced Tuesday. Her first day on the job will be Nov. 20.
As vice provost, Yildrim will be tasked with creating a “unified, comprehensive strategy for inclusive excellence” and assessing the university’s current approaches to diversity.
“I am looking forward to working with colleagues across the university and the community at large on continuing to build a campus that is an inclusive and nurturing environment for all,” Yildirim said in a statement. “I am so impressed by all the diversity, equity and inclusion work that has already been accomplished at UB, and know that I will have an enthusiastic campus community supporting me as we continue to advance inclusive excellence at UB.”
Yildirim has been at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas since July of 2022, according to her LinkedIn page. Prior to that, she spent four years at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), where she ran afoul of the university’s faculty senate.
In 2021, three years into Yildirim’s tenure as an associate vice provost and co-chief diversity officer, the faculty senate passed a “resolution of no confidence” in her leadership. The resolution — complete with links to email exchanges and university policies — alleged that Yildirim had violated shared governance principles, interfered with search committees, disregarded policies while unilaterally implementing others, failed to follow timelines for grievance proceedings, neglected to perform diversity checks on time, made false statements and fired volunteer faculty members en masse, among other allegations.
“To ‘get things done’ is a threshold expectation of an administrator. AVP Yildirim has not met this lowest bar,” the CSUSB faculty senate resolution from 2021 says. “Her incompetence has created a bottleneck in the process of many missions of the university and has undermined the rights of those concerned.”
Several of Yildirim’s fellow administrators rejected the faculty senate’s assertions, arguing that the associate vice provost had “been working tirelessly to advance our institution's core values of inclusivity, integrity, equity, respect and transparency.”
“We implore the architects of this ‘resolution’ to consider their own latent prejudices and microaggressions,” 14 administrators wrote in a signed letter. “It is not missed on us that this ‘Resolution of Vote of No Confidence’... targets another administrator of color who, in this case, also happens to be a religious minority.”
University at Buffalo Provost A. Scott Weber told The Spectrum that "UB is aware" of the resolution of no confidence.
"Professor Yildirim’s appointment followed a robust, national search process and she emerged as an outstanding candidate from a very strong pool," Weber said in a statement. "We are thrilled to welcome her to the UB community and look forward to her leadership in advancing our inclusive excellence goals."
Yildirim had also served as a professor of law at Whittier Law School, where she spent 12 years.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include comment from Provost A. Scott Weber regarding the CSUSB's 2021 resolution of no confidence.
Grant Ashley is the editor in chief and can be reached at email@example.com
Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley.