‘Dean Dave’ stands for action and racial equality
When Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dave O’Guinn asked his staff for suggestions on how to complete his “I stand for…” phrase, for the new IU Corps campaign, the response was unanimous, “Well Dave, maybe you should say that you’re passionate about being passionate!” “Dean Dave,” as he is known to students, laughed while telling this story, and explained that it is not far off.
IU Corps launched the “I stand for…” campaign in fall 2020, asking participants to share something they’re passionate about to be printed on a custom T-shirt. IU Corps is a network of IU Bloomington and community partners whose efforts create positive social change in local neighborhoods and around the world.
Well into his third year as Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, O’Guinn has devoted much of his time listening to and advocating for students across our campus. He has seen student groups denounce injustice and fight for a better world. It is these students who make him so proud to be a Hoosier.
O’Guinn said he stands for “action” and “racial equality.”
“It is one thing to notice that something is wrong, but what are you doing about it?” O’Guinn said. He explained that each person has the ability to make a difference, whether that is on campus or beyond. One of the areas that O’Guinn focuses his action toward is supporting Black and underrepresented students.
“Black Lives Matter is not a political statement,” O’Guinn said. “We should be doing everything we can to support our Black and other underrepresented students.” O’Guinn and his staff work in the Indiana Memorial Union, where the main staircases now illustrate “steps towards change.” The steps have action words painted on them like, “LISTEN, LOVE, LEAD, VOTE, RESPECT, PROTECT,” and they both start and end with the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”
From his early career, O’Guinn has been determined to make a difference wherever he can. During his undergraduate studies in political science at DePauw University, O’Guinn was involved in both Union Board and his fraternity as a student leader. Many of his mentors worked in higher education, which sparked O’Guinn’s own interest in this field. He later earned a master’s degree in higher education from IU Bloomington and went on to receive his juris doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Law School, where he also served as an assistant rector for undergraduate students. This was followed by many years both as an employment attorney and as Chief Litigation Counsel for IU. Throughout his career, O’Guinn has taken action to advocate for people – and particularly students.
“The best part about my job is that I get to meet amazing students who are driving change,” he said. “I really am passionate about people finding their passion.”
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What do you stand for?
The “I stand for…” campaign, led by IU Corps, asks participants to share something they’re passionate about. At pop-up events around campus, members of the IU community and community partners are completing the statement on custom T-shirts.