Dear Emerson Community Members,
It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news that Pamela White, Emerson’s former Associate Vice President and Title IX & Clery Act Coordinator in the Social Justice Center, passed away on December 29, 2021.
Pam joined the Emerson community in September 2015 following an extensive search to fill the role of AVP and Title IX & Clery Act Coordinator, an inaugural position with responsibility for overseeing the College’s Title IX compliance and providing support to individuals and community members impacted by power-based interpersonal violence.
In her time at Emerson, Pam collaborated with numerous students, staff, and faculty. She led several major projects during her tenure including: the overhaul of training programs for students, staff, and faculty; policy revisions; and the implementation of support and resource materials distributed across campus, in addition to incorporating trauma-informed Title IX response into the culture of the College. Her expertise and commitment to data-driven, evidence-based best practices in equity in higher education enabled her to center individuals and communities impacted by power-based interpersonal violence.
Pam, whose advice and counsel was frequently sought by her colleagues, will be missed by the entire Emerson community, but especially by her current and former colleagues in the Social Justice Center, where she was integral to conversations deconstructing the nature of power and control and also brought much joy and light to gatherings and liberatory moments.
Sylvia Spears, former Vice President for Equity & Social Justice reflected, “Pam held one of the most challenging roles that exists on any college campus. It required her to engage with people during what was likely one of the most difficult periods of their lives. Pam was an extraordinary woman who was committed to justice and brought that ethic to her work at Emerson. She was a beloved colleague in the SJC who became my good friend. I will miss Pam as well as the light and love that she brought to those around her.”
In her bio for the SJC website, Pam wrote about her desire to work in public service after growing up in awe of three African American women—Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, and Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, who served their communities as lawyers, educators, and politicians. Pam wrote, “Though nothing I do would ever remotely compare to the impact these giants had on the lives of African Americans, women, our political system, and our nation. It is their grit, the sheer will to refuse to accept the status quo that continues to motivate me and inspire me to keep pressing forward doing this work.”
Pam’s commitment to justice had a profound impact on Emerson and on those who knew her, and was infused with an awareness that a community ecosystem is greater than the sum of its parts. Her steadfast values were felt by all who interacted with her. Services for Pam will take place in her home state of Florida through the Royal Palm Funeral Home and Memorial Garden.
Please join our community as we reflect on Pam’s many contributions to our community, and send wishes of support to her family and friends.
Ruthanne M. Madsen, EdD
Interim Supervisor, Social Justice Center
Vice President for Enrollment Management