Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes is the Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Williams College. She is a member of the college’s senior staff, and in her role, she serves as the institution’s primary strategist working to ensure the Williams community is diverse, equitable and inclusive. She brings more than two decades of experience as an administrator, educator, civil rights advocate, and lawyer.
Haynes directs the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which includes the Davis Center and the Office of Special Academic Programs, and committees and initiatives focused on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion. As the college’s chief diversity officer, she leads the institution’s departments and committees that develop and implement non-discrimination policies, facilitate critical conversations on equity and inclusion, assess campus climate, resolve conflicts, advise and mentor students and faculty, support academic pathway programs, and recruit and retain a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. She engages the broader community to create and sustain diverse, equitable, and inclusive places where families live, learn, and work.
Haynes has been lauded for her work as a strategist, facilitator, and problem-solver and keeping matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the fore of conversation and action.
Immediately prior to joining Williams College, Haynes directed the Education Practice at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and used legal and policy advocacy to ensure access to equal educational opportunities at the pre-kindergarten through post-secondary education levels. Her portfolio at LDF included school desegregation, access to higher education and the school-to-prison pipeline. She also served as a judicial law clerk to the late Honorable Dickinson R. Debevoise of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, an associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, a policy advisor to former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and a public elementary school teacher in New York City.
Throughout her career, she has contributed to and helped shape the national dialogue around best practices in education. In addition, she has led coalitions working to advance the rights of individuals with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and immigrants. She has successfully argued before state and federal trial and appellate courts, most recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in a case in which she represented plaintiffs in a decades-old school desegregation case. She recently co-authored Eliminating Excessive and Disparate School Discipline: A Review of Research and Policy Reform in Inequality in School Discipline (2016) and Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity (2014)
She has served as adjunct faculty at a number of educational institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Education. She has been a member of several non-profit boards, including the Board of Visitors of the University of Wisconsin Law School, the Board of Trustees of Pine Cobble School, and the Alumnae Board of the Spence School. She received a B.A. from Williams College, J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, M.S. in Educational Administration and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.