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Indiana Daily Student

Chancellor leaves many initiatives on table

Sharon Brehm's days as chancellor are coming to an end, but the IU \ncommunity will likely feel her presence for years to come.\nBrehm began many initiatives in her two-and-a-half year tenure as IU-B \nchancellor, addressing diversity concerns on campus after the Benton \nMural controversy and leading a fiscal program for the University.\nDean of the School of Education Gerardo Gonzalez said Brehm's commitment\nto IU was beneficial.\n"Brehm has been nothing but a friend to the deans," Gonzalez said. "She \nhas spearheaded some important initiatives which have benefited the campus."\nDean of Students Richard McKaig said Brehm's influence will not fade any\ntime soon.\n"Those (ideas) that worked typically get entranced with the fabric of \nthe University," McKaig said. "Just because she is departing doesn't mean \nthese ideas will go away."\nBrehm is perhaps most noted for her decision regarding the Benton Mural \ncontroversy, which centered around a mural in Woodburn Hall Room 100 \ndepicting members of the Ku Klux Klan.\nSome student leaders said they felt uncomfortable sitting in a classroom\nwith the mural in such plain view. Others disagreed on the basis that the \nmural was necessary to remind Indiana of its past.\nBrehm decided the mural must remain in order to maintain its integrity \nas well as IU's commitment to diversity awareness. But the decision did not \nsatisfy all involved. \nBrehm instituted a mural education program to inform all incoming \nfreshmen of the mural's historical connotations. She also mandated that professors teaching in Woodburn 100 invite a trained team to discuss the mural with their classes.\nBut Brehm's verdict on the murals was only part of her campaign to \npromote diversity at IU. \nSoon after the controversy, she allocated $800,000 to help finance IU’s \nStrategic Hiring Initiative, which aims to boost the number of minorities and \nfemales among faculty ranks.\nBrehm simultaneously established the "One for Diversity" fund, which \npromotes multicultural art around campus. Brehm delivered her recent "State of Diversity" address at a rally for "One for Diversity" last week.\n"Persistence is obviously needed," Brehm said in her address. "In fact, \nwe need to be quite stubborn in our determination to create a more welcoming\ncampus that will be attractive to individuals from a wide range of ethnic \nbackgrounds."\nAside from developing diversity, Brehm fronted the effort to allocate \ncash flow from the $1,000 fee assessed to this year's incoming freshmen toward \nhiring new professors. \nThe Commitment to Excellence Program, formed to raise money to combat \ndwindling Indiana state funding, took on the massive task of distributing \nfinancial aid to academic departments.\n"I think it was very visionary to create this committee," said Fred H. \nCate, chair of the Strategic Planning Commitee and professor of law. "She has \nprovided great suport to the commitee but has also given it enormous \nfreedom to do its work. This (committee) has been remarkable in how thouroughly she's lived up to its promises."\nIn addition to the numerous programs she instituted, Brehm was renowned \nfor her dedication to students.\n"She always tried to get out and see students and try to be accessible \nto them," Dean of the Faculties Moya Andrews said. "In the early days, if \nyou sent her an e-mail at two in the morning, you'd get a response at 4 a.m."\nGloria Gibson, associate vice chancellor for multicultural affairs, said she appreciated Brehm's tolerance for new ideas.\n"I have found her to be very open-minded, to be very willing to listen \nto suggestions of others," Gibson said.\nAside from these contributions, Brehm’s vision for IU included smaller \nchanges, including a 30-foot ban on smoking around campus buildings and \nrenovations made \nto the Wells House. \nContact staff writer Mike McElroy at mmcelroy@indiana.edu.

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