New interim director of Sac State’s Office of Equal Opportunity announced

Search continues for a permanent appointment


Mercy Sosa

Mary Lee Vance, Sacramento State’s current director of Services for Students with Disabilities, will now work as interim director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, President Robert Nelsen announced Wednesday. Vance will work in the position as the search for a permanent director continues. Photo of Vance courtesy of Vance. Photo in background by Shaun Holkko. Graphic made in Canva by Mercy Sosa.

Kris Hall

Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen announced a new interim director of the Office of Equal Opportunity in a SacSend email on Wednesday.

Mary Lee Vance, the current director of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSWD), is filling the vacancy that William “Skip” Bishop left in his departure from Sac State.

RELATED: Skip Bishop becomes fourth Black administrator to leave Sac State in the last year 

Vance will be interim director of OEO until a permanent director is found, according to Nelsen’s SacSend email. Vance told The State Hornet she expects the search for a permanent director to wrap up in three to five months.

Dr. Vance brings the expertise in implementation of processes and policies related to individuals with protected status that we need in this important role as we search for our new permanent director,” Nelsen said in the email.

OEO is responsible for addressing bias, harassment, retaliation and any other forms of discrimination associated with Sac State. The office is part of Sac State’s Division of Inclusive Excellence, which has been under interim direction since Diana Tate Vermeire left the position of vice president for Inclusive Excellence in May. The new permanent vice president for Inclusive Excellence, Mia Settles-Tidwell, was announced Oct. 11 and begins in her role Nov. 8.

It is important to have a department responsible for [ensuring] a fair process for reviewing complaints and concerns for the campus community, and that as an institution we are in legal compliance,” Vance said to The State Hornet via email.

Vance has been director of SSWD since 2018, has worked with disabled students at Berkeley as associate director of their disabled students program and served as interim director of students with disabilities program at Orange Coast College, according to Nelsen’s SacSend.

Vance said that a majority of her time will be spent at the OEO but that she will correspond with SSWD until a permanent OEO director is found. Vance also shared that from her new interim position she wants to continue to connect with other campuses for collaborative initiatives.

As an interim, my primary role will be to [ensure] that issues that come to the department are handled professionally and in a timely manner,” she said.