Julie DeGraw, former Vice President of Student Life, served her last day at the University on Oct. 19. That same day, Interim Provost Richard Gillman sent an email to the Valpo community, informing them of the news.
The email stated that Steven Janowiak, former associate dean of student life, will serve as Interim Vice President of student life, effective immediately.
According to the email, Janowiak has been working in the student life division at Valpo since July 2013.
“Interim Vice President Janowiak has more than 25 years of full-time experience in higher education, and he previously served as the vice president for student affairs at Briar Cliff University in Iowa,” the email said.
However, the email did not give a reason for the change in leadership. When asked for a comment from the University through Chief Communications Officer, Nicole Niemi, The Torch was told that the University does not comment on personnel matters.
Gillman also stated he is unable to comment on personnel matters but expressed his confidence in Janowiak.
“I am happy, however, to reinforce what was said in the campus email. I have full confidence in Steve’s ability to lead our division of student life and that I will be working quickly to begin the search process for the next vice president for student life,” Gillman said.
DeGraw had also served as a faculty advisor of student senate alongside Ryan Blevins, assistant dean of students for residential life. Janowiak will be filling this role during his time as Interim Vice President. On Monday night, Blevins addressed student senate on the change.
“We were all surprised by Dr. DeGraw’s departure from the university. Here, tonight all I will share is this, out of respect for Dr. DeGraw it is not appropriate or fair for us to speculate on the circumstances surrounding her departure,” Blevins said. “I will share with you tonight that myself and our interim vice president Steven Janowiak, who is here tonight as well, are still very committed to your success as a student senator and we will continue to be here side by side with you throughout this academic year and continue to work with you and your leadership to help move forward the student agenda as you guys see fit as you are representatives of the student body.”
Student Senate President, Kaitlyn Steinhiser had also addressed the assembly, commending them for their work during challenging times.
“If there’s anything that 2020 has taught us it's that student senate persists regardless of the circumstances that our university faces,” Steinhiser said.
According to Steinhiser, student senate will continue to move forward with current initiatives despite DeGraw’s departure.
“Dr DeGraw’s departure does not invalidate any of the initiatives that we have undertaken as a senate and everything that we’ve done and will ever do is in the name of the Valparaiso University student body. Just as we have adapted to every other curveball this year’s thrown us, we will continue to uphold the values of our constituents as long as we serve these roles,” Steinhiser said, “I respect the decision that the University has recently made and I look forward to working with Steve in his new position. Students are always welcome to come to our student senate meetings at 8:30 pm in the ballrooms to voice their concerns during our form of concerns sections.”