Simmons College named their new media college after Gwen Ifill, an African-American journalist who passed away two years ago. A white man has been appointed dean and that’s apparently a problem.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Protests ensue after first dean of college named for Gwen Ifill is a white man

The appointment of a white Loyola University Maryland administrator as the dean of a new center that honors Gwen Ifill, the late African-American host of the “PBS News Hour,” has become the focus of criticism at Simmons University.

Brian Norman, who founded the African-American studies program at Loyola, was named dean of the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and the Humanities at Simmons in April. Since then, the university has had to cancel a series of events this fall meant to inaugurate the new college that was announced after Ifill’s death two years ago from cancer.

Ifill, a 1977 graduate of Simmons, was known for her fierce mentorship of young, black journalists. She was a former Evening Sun reporter, covered seven presidential campaigns as a correspondent for NBC News and was a White House reporter for The New York Times. She also moderated two vice-presidential debates, in 2004 and 2008, and wrote a book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”

A year after Ifill’s death in November 2016, Simmons decided to name a new school in her honor. When alumni and students learned that Simmons had hired a white man to be the first dean of the college, they expressed disappointment that Ifill’s pioneering spirit was not represented in the selection.

Alumna Juliette Mayer said she was disheartened by the naming of a white man to the position.

“Given who she was and what she stood for and in honor of her memory, it would have been my preference that a person of color had been in the role,” said Mayer who was the first recipient of the Gwen Ifill Trail Blazing Leadership Award given last spring by the university.

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