Xavier Names Director of Center for Equity, Justice and the Human Spirit

Cirecie West OlatunjiNEW ORLEANS — Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji has been named the new director of Xavier University of Louisiana’s Center for Equity, Justice and the Human Spirit. She will lead initiatives to engage, support and promote innovative thinking across disciplines regarding race, class, and systemic inequities. With faith, this mission will do justice toward a better understanding of issues impacting modern societies and vexing the human spirit. 

With more than four decades of experience, West-Olatunji began her time at Xavier in 1998 as an assistant professor and director of Xavier’s Counseling Program. Although she left Louisiana in 2002, she never forgot the Crescent City and sense of community she felt at Xavier. In 2015, Dr. West-Olatunji returned and is the Melba Fortuné Martinez endowed professor in the counselor education program and director of the Center for Traumatic Stress Research at Xavier. From 2017-2021, she also acted as the editor-in-chief for the Journal for Multicultural Counseling and Development. In 2018, West-Olatunji was recognized as an American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow.

“We are tremendously excited to welcome Dr. Olatunji as the new director of Xavier’s Center for Equity, Justice, and the human spirit,” said Xavier’s Senior Vice President and Provost Anne McCall. “Her experience and guidance will be crucial in further elevating the Center as an example of community-driven change in pursuit of social justice.”

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The CEJHS was founded in August 2018 as a vital space for scholarly research and community-driven systems change. The center develops programming to shift oppressive policies and practices in education, criminal justice, and environmental sustainability. It serves as a place for research, teaching, community engagement, and debate on issues related to race-based inequities, social identity production, and power relations embedded in our intellectual programs and across academic disciplines in pursuit of eliminating political, social, and systemic inequities within systems and institutions.

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