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Susan Rieger Named Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

By James Devitt

Susan Rieger

Susan Rieger, dean of Ezra Stiles College at Yale University, has been named associate provost for equal opportunity and affirmative action. Her appointment begins July 1, 2002.

"Susan Rieger has many strings to her bow and is a perfect fit with our expanded view of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action," said Columbia Provost Jonathan Cole. "She has a legal background with a specific interest in equal employment opportunity, but her experience takes her beyond the law to a deep understanding of the opportunities and barriers that students and faculty can face in choosing and pursuing careers. With a new emphasis on creating opportunities for minorities and women, and on working closely with faculty and students, Susan should be able to draw upon her rich experience over the past decades as Dean of Ezra Stiles College at Yale."

In her new post, Rieger, Law '76, will coordinate Columbia's programs to promote diversity and to create a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. Her duties will include working with the academic and administrative departments to recruit and maintain a faculty and staff diverse in background and outstanding in qualifications ensuring the University's compliance with laws and government regulations on equal opportunity and affirmative action.

"I'd like the office to be seen and used both as a working partner in the talent search for new faculty, students and staff and as an instrument for maintaining a workplace free from discrimination and harassment." Rieger said. "I believe that no great university can maintain its position, its stature and its reputation without a commitment to both diversity and excellence. Time and again, Columbia has shown itself to be such a university and I am excited at the prospect of being a part of it."

Rieger is also director of undergraduate studies (special divisional majors) at Yale and serves as a lecturer in the University's English and Women's Studies departments. Prior to coming to Yale, she was lecturer in legal studies at Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In addition, Rieger is a volunteer attorney handling death penalty cases at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta.

Rieger has been an instructor at Brooklyn Law School and an attorney at the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where she specialized in equal employment opportunity law and employment discrimination law.

Rieger received her bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1968. While at Columbia's School of Law, Rieger was a teaching fellow to current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Law '59, in civil procedure. Ginsburg was a Columbia Law School professor from 1972 to 1980.

"Coming back to Columbia is returning to my roots," said Rieger. "When I was at the law school in the 70s, I took the course on Sex Discrimination Law with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Clinical Seminar on Fair Employment Litigation with Harriet Rabb (Barnard '63, Law '66). Those were the early days of equal employment opportunity law and Professors Ginsburg and Rabb were out there on the barricades, making law and making waves. It was a great time to be a woman at the law school and I felt very lucky to be there and to be taught by those who were bringing the test cases."

Rabb, now vice president and general counsel at Rockefeller University, was at Columbia Law School from 1971 to 1993.

Rieger was also an admissions officer at Columbia College in the 1970s and, from 1981 to 1982, a research associate at the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences, which is now part of Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP).

Published: May 24, 2002
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002


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