On Monday, Jan. 3, University President Ron Liebowitz announced in an email to the University that LeManuel Lee Bitsóí had been selected and accepted the position as the new vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In October 2021, Liebowitz announced that a search committee had been established for this position, led by Carol Fierke, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs, and Harleen Singh, associate professor of literature and women's, gender and sexuality studies. Liebowitz also acknowledged that, in the meantime, David M. Fryson would serve as the interim chief diversity officer and vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

“Bitsóí is a first-generation Native American (Navajo) graduate of New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico with a master’s degree from Harvard University and an Ed.D. in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania,” stated a BrandeisNow article. He has over 20 years of experience working in diversity, equity, and inclusion roles at various higher education institutions, and is currently serving as the associate vice president for diversity affairs as well as the special advisor to the president for indigenous affairs at Fort Lewis College in Colorado, according to Liebowitz’s email. Previously, as stated by his LinkedIn profile, Bitsóí worked as the chief diversity officer at Stony Brook University in New York. 

As an Indigenous person, Bitsóí resonates with the values Brandeis was founded on, at a time when Jewish people were being discriminated against in higher education. Brandeis’ history “[pushes] us to include all those who may have faced barriers to participation because of their ethnicity, religion, race, or gender,” he said in the BrandeisNow article. 

Bitsóí has experience recruiting and supporting underrepresented minority groups, specifically in the sciences, which is ideal for Brandeis because, as Fierke said in the BrandeisNow article, “Enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion in our science labs, our art studios, our performance spaces, and our classrooms is an ongoing effort at Brandeis.” 

Out of all of the candidates the committee viewed over the six-month national search, “Lee stood out for his thoughtful interactions with our students, and the respect he showed for their concerns during his campus conversations. We are very pleased to welcome him to Brandeis,” said Singh in the BrandeisNow article. 

Bitsóí will transition into the role in mid-March. 

The Brandeis community can look forward to his arrival; according to President Liebowtiz in his email, “Lee is a skilled diversity, equity, and inclusion leader and administrator, and he will bring to Brandeis his extensive experience in collaborating with students, faculty, and staff to implement diversity-driven initiatives, policies, and programming.”