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Symone Morales announced as FLI Office director

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In a Tuesday email to the first-generation and/or low-income (FLI) community, Assistant Vice Provost of Student Affairs Jan Barker-Alexander announced that Symone Morales will be the next director of the FLI Office.

Morales is currently a coordinator of first-generation campus-wide initiatives at UCLA, where she “designed and directed initiatives including course creation, alumni relations, and faculty advising that has led to her being seen as a national content expert in this arena,” Barker-Alexander wrote in the email announcement.   

Morales also previously worked as a college adviser with Carolina College Advising Corps, where she helped guide first-generation high school students through the college process.

The Tuesday announcement follows a February petition campaign led by FLI student leadership urging administrators to appoint Jennifer Rolen — the office’s associate director, assistant dean and acting director — as permanent director. Their efforts garnered 800 signatures of support calling for greater student input in the hiring process. 

“I was overwhelmed and grateful by the show of support from students, alumni and colleagues at Stanford and beyond,” Rolen wrote in an email to The Daily following the announcement of Morales’s appointment. “I am so proud to be a part of the FLI community at Stanford and while I’m not sure what things will look like moving forward, I am sure that there are great things on the horizon.” 

Undergraduate Senator Verónica Ayala ’22, who supported the campaign for Rolen to be named as director, described the selection process as “faulty from beginning to end,” citing the lack of student voices reflected in the hiring decision. 

“I do believe that in order to support the FLI community there needs to be great work done by the University to earn back our trust,” Ayala said. 

In her email, Barker-Alexander wrote that the University recognizes “we still have trust to build with members of the FLI Community.”

“We are all committed to do the hard work to create a strong foundation that will support our collective engagement,” Barker-Alexander added.

“Symone seems capable of executing this role,” Ayala said. “While this was not the outcome that we expected, we hope that the FLI Office continues to support FLI students the way it has been for years.”

Morales was able to be hired before the University announced a hiring pause last month, according to Alexander.

Morales did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The Daily has reached out to the University for comment.

Esha Dhawan contributed reporting. 

Contact Grace Carroll at gac23 ‘at’ stanford.edu and Michael Espinosa at mesp2021 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Michael Espinosa '21 is majoring in international relations. He's the head of The Daily's social media team and also writes for the University beat. He's the biggest Taylor Swift fan at Stanford and the proudest New Yorker will ever meet. Contact him at mesp2021 'at' stanford.edu.