Dean of Students announces resignation

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 7, 2017 issue of The Vantage

By Courtney Klaus

Newman’s Dean of Students Levi Esses announced on Tuesday that he was resigning to take a job as the associate director of new student services at Kansas State University.

Esses, who has been at Newman since January 2015, turned in his resignation on Monday.

In an interview on Tuesday morning, Esses said he was leaving because he was presented with a job opportunity he could not pass up.

“It’s not necessarily that I’m unhappy at Newman,” he said. “It’s just that I got this great opportunity at K-State.”

Later on Tuesday, members of Student Government Association said that Esses, who serves as their faculty adviser, tearfully addressed them about his resignation in a closed-door meeting, where he said he was overwhelmed by conflict with his boss, Vic Trilli, the vice president of student affairs and athletic director, regarding a student insurance bill. Contacted later by The Vantage, Esses said it would not be appropriate for him to comment on what was discussed at the meeting.

Trilli said that he could not comment on what happened at the meeting because “I was not invited,” but he said that he empathizes with Esses and knows he will be missed.

“It’s going to be emotional when anybody leaves. Levi had great relationships with students… and he’s leaving, and it’s the Christmas season, and we’re at the end, and emotions are all over the place right now, so I think some of that is understandable” Trilli said.

Esses described his new job at K-State as “a different type of role” than the one he played at Newman.

As the associate director of new student services, Esses said he will be working with K-State’s orientation program and events and will supervise the student workers that run the campus visit program.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” he said.

Although Esses said that leaving Newman so suddenly is not ideal, he expects the transition to a different school will go smoothly over Christmas break.

“In my profession, jobs come open at funny times of the year, and so I wasn’t necessarily expecting to leave after the fall semester, but it’s when the position came open… They want someone there on Jan. 2,” he said, “I know a lot of people in Manhattan, and so it will be an easier transition as I start.”

Students in SGA say they are saddened by Esses’s departure. Some said they have concerns regarding the future of SGA without Esses as their adviser.

“I think Levi’s leaving is really sad for the university because, really, he was probably the best person we are ever going to have as dean of student life, at least while we’re here,” SGA Secretary Thao Nguyen said. “He always made it clear he was on our side as a student government.”

SGA Senator Madison McCollum said Esses’s departure was upsetting but that she wishes him well.

“It makes me really sad to see Levi go, because I truly believe that Levi came here with the best intentions for students… But, honestly, if K-State is going to treat him better, and K-State’s going to appreciate what he can do, I am happy for him. I think Newman lost someone good,” McCollum said.

Trilli said discussions about how to proceed without Esses are ongoing at the administrative level. He said he will be more closely involved with the student life office until someone is hired to fill Esses’s position.

On Tuesday, Trilli met with the student life staff to begin discussions on how to divide his responsibilities, particularly the leadership of student clubs. Esses served as the adviser for SGA, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and Kaleidoscope, Newman’s LGBT+ support group.  

“I was really impressed yesterday with their willingness to step up… They are like, ‘Here we go, let’s see what we can do, we’re ready to run,’ and I love that,” Trilli said.

Trilli said he didn’t know how long it would take to hire a new dean of students. Esses’s official last day is Dec. 20, but he said he is taking vacation days he’s accumulated until then.

This story first appeared in the December 7, 2017 issue of The Vantage.]]></content:encoded>
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Thu, 07 Dec 2017 22:37:02 +0000

content:encoded<![CDATA[Newman University’s Director of Human Resources, Mandy Greenfield, was put on administrative leave this week -- less than two weeks after she reported a trespassing incident in her department to the Wichita Police Department.

Police records show that the trespassing call came in around 7:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

According to police records, Greenfield made the report and said that an unknown person gained access to the Human Resources office in Sacred Heart with a key sometime between 5 p.m. Nov. 22 and 5 p.m. Nov. 23. No items were reported missing, but a locked file cabinet had been opened and a file had been left open on a desk.

Newman’s Director of Security, Mo Floyd, confirmed that a report had been made but said he could not comment on the specifics of the incident.

In an e-mail, Newman University President Noreen Carrocci confirmed Greenfield’s administrative leave but said she could not comment further because it is a personnel issue. She also said she had no comment on the trespassing report.

Greenfield has been listed as  Newman’s Director of Human Resources since October 2014. She is also listed as a Title IX investigator for the university.

Vice President for Finance and Administration Jennifer Gantz has been named the Interim Director of Human Resources in Greenfield’s absence, Gantz said.

Gantz, who started in her position at Newman in June of 2013, will maintain both positions for now.