The University of Maryland’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has named Dr. Van Bailey as the department’s next Bias Incident Support Services director, according to a Friday email from the office. Bailey will begin in the position on Feb. 15. 

The decision comes after a monthslong search following the departure of former director Neijma Celestine-Donnor. Brian Medina, project manager of BISS, has taken on the director’s responsibilities since her departure. 

The office announced it had narrowed its search to four final candidates in December. Bailey met with university community members virtually that month to discuss his potential approach to the position. 

[Candidate for Bias Incident Support Services head talks transparency, cultural humility]

The hate bias response program was launched in the wake of the 2017 murder of 1st Lt. Richard Collins on this university’s campus. The announcement comes one day after Sean Urbanski, a former student at this university, was sentenced to life in Collins’ murder.

Bailey, who has served as assistant dean and director of diversity and inclusion at George Mason University, emphasized the importance of community engagement and transparency, as well as constantly learning and adapting. 

In 2019, the university’s zip code reported the highest number of hate bias incidents in the state. Bailey noted in his December presentation that he has dealt with a wide variety of hate bias incidents and that many universities often “bury” their bias incident reports, making it difficult to understand the history of trauma at the university. 

Bailey emphasized the importance of transparency about these bias incidents through social media, making reports available and tracking the action taken after a bias incident reported. 

“There is no way that I, even as a Black trans person, know any and everything that there is about identity. I have to be curious,” Bailey said in December.