Débora D. Ferreira, executive director of Equal Opportunity and the university’s Title IX coordinator, will take on a new role as the chancellor’s liaison to the Office of General Counsel effective July 1.
“Débora has been a leader for 17 years in our Equal Opportunity Office, working tirelessly to protect the civil rights of our faculty, staff and students, and to build a more diverse campus community,” said Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. “Her critical work on Title IX issues has elevated campus awareness and made the campus a safer environment for all.”
Ferreira will be embedded within the Office of General Counsel and continue to work on the Amherst campus. In her new role, she will be focusing primarily on compliance matters, including immigration and employment policy and procedures.
Ferreira said, “It has been an honor and privilege to lead the efforts toward making the campus more equitable and inclusive. In my various roles, I have collaborated with campus partners to prevent and respond to harassment and discrimination. I have enjoyed working alongside dedicated colleagues at Equal Opportunity. I look forward to working with the Office of the General Counsel and the new and exciting challenges that this experience will bring.”
Ferreira was named executive director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity in May 2006 after serving as the office’s associate director. In 2009, she also took on the supervision of the Disability Services Office, became the ADA Compliance Officer, Title IX Coordinator and Chief Diversity Officer. Prior to joining the campus staff, she was a diversity consultant to businesses, schools and higher education institutions. She also worked in the Maine Attorney General’s Office, where she focused on anti-hate crime education in schools. A UMass Amherst alumna, Ferreira earned degrees in Afro-American Studies and Legal Studies in 1993 before going on to Boston College Law School, where she was awarded her J.D. in 1996.
With Ferreira taking on a new role, the university reviewed the structure of Equal Opportunity and decided to more closely align it with Human Resources as part of a wider reorganization. Human Resources will now report directly to Chancellor Subbaswamy, with William Brady being named vice chancellor and chief human resources officer. The realignment, Brady said, will facilitate stronger collaboration between HR and Equal Opportunity to timely address concerns that come forward.
Brady said a national search soon will be launched for a new associate vice chancellor for equal opportunity. The position will lead campus efforts related to the strategic implementation of policies related to discrimination and harassment and will serve as the Title IX, Title VI, Title VII and Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator. The position will head the Equal Opportunity Office, which is charged with investigating complaints of discrimination, harassment and related retaliation.