Incoming HCC Staff Members Suddenly Withdraw Candidacy

Two new hires withdraw their candidacy, extending Health and Counseling Center staffing woes

Two of the new members of the Health and Counseling Center (HCC) that were slated to begin work on November 18 have withdrawn their candidacy, according to a message from SHARE program director Rowan Frost. Dr. Ximena Mejía, who had accepted an offer to become the Associate Dean for Health and Wellbeing, and Dr. Claire Haiman, who had accepted an offer to become the Director of Counseling, both withdrew their candidacies suddenly on November 4 after having been selected by a search committee made of students and administrators. Frost did not have any more information to provide.

The sudden change presents a further setback for the HCC, which has been working to return to full counselling services after a series of departures of senior staff members and clinicians last spring. The Center, the sole provider for in-person medical care and counseling, was set on the path of disarray with the sudden and unexpected departure of Interim Director David Ochoa last spring. One anonymous source, speaking to the Quest for an article published September 27, claimed that the rapid rate of staff turnover was the result of “harm from administration and previous HCC leadership.”

In the days following this news, Student Body President Pax Lloyd-Burchett met with President Audrey Bilger to discuss the candidacy withdrawals. The two candidates had met following an on-campus interview in October, and were likely in contact after that, “but we can’t know more than that,” Lloyd-Burchett explained. “It’s really unfortunate,” he said, “but ultimately it’s important that we get [people] who want to be at Reed… and want to work with this community.” According to Lloyd-Burchett, Bilger’s takeaway was “if people don’t want to be here, I never want to be in the position of convincing people to be here.”

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