This Thursday, Dean of Student Life Jamele Adams announced via an email to The Hoot the promotion of Stephanie Grimes and Monique Pillow Gnanaratnam to assistant deans who will assist Adams in the Office of the Dean of Student Life. While it is currently unknown if other faculty members were considered for the assistant dean positions, Grimes and Pillow Gnanaratnam were selected personally by Adams and are expected to assume new responsibilities in the immediate future.
“These are not new positions, they are promotions as part of the restructuring of the Dean of Students Office,” wrote Senior Vice President for Communications Ellen de Graffenreid in an email. De Graffenreid and Adams also stated that both Grimes and Pillow Gnanaratnam will continue to run their respective departments while gaining further responsibilities as assistant deans.
Specifically, Grimes will now oversee the Department of Orientation within Admissions, and Pillow Gnanaratnam will oversee the Department of Community Service, including Waltham Group and other programs. Adams assured that their promotions would not harm Grimes or Pillow Gnanaratnam’s abilities to run their current departments in addition to their new responsibilities. Neither Grimes or Pillow Gnanaratnam could be reached for comment by press time regarding their new positions.
Grimes, current director of Student Activities, is known throughout campus for being the administrative side of setting up nearly every event on campus hosted by Student Events, as well as assisting nearly every student club at Brandeis do the same. Grimes is also well known by students for her weekly “What’s Happening at Brandeis” emails, which list on-campus events for the coming weekend.
Pillow Gnanaratnam is the director of the Intercultural Center (ICC) and oversees not only the ICC’s daily operation, but also the various programs and clubs that are housed there. She is well known to students in cultural and related clubs, and is in charge of providing academic opportunities and resources to them. Pillow Gnanaratnam also assists in setting up events based around encouraging and celebrating diversity on campus, and is listed as a campus ally for Brandeis LGBTQ affairs.
Both Grimes and Pillow Gnanaratnam were chosen for the above qualifications and others, according to Adams. “Stephanie has been with us for over 16 years,” said Adams in his email. “[Grimes] started her Brandeis career in Residence Life (now Community Living) at a time when we were Campus Life and then went on to passionately guide Student Activities ever since.”
In a similar vein, Pillow Gnanaratnam “came to us having previously served out a ‘deanship’ at Bellermine University, moving on to working as the Director for Off-Campus Student Services and serving as Assistant Director for Orientation at Northeastern University,” Adams wrote. Pillow Gnanaratnam joined Brandeis “to lend her talents toward growing our ICC into its current and appreciated structure.”
With Brandeis’ recent hires, including Sexual Assault Services and Prevention Specialist Sheila McMahon and two new positions created in the African and Afro-American Studies Department, veteran Brandeis employees have taken on additional responsibilities. Students who know Grimes and Pillow Gnanaratnam may feel more comfortable, though any problems or benefits created by the restructuring of the Office of the Dean of Students are yet to be seen.