top of page

Personnel changes impact RU's Center for Student Life

CSL staff wears homemade halloween costumes posing dramatically in the frame
CSL staff dresses up for Halloween in 2022. Katelyn Hargrave, Michelle Guinyard, Erica Suzek, Dustin McMillan, Evan Green and Brian Petty show off their superhero costumes.

By Amelia Calkin, Danielle Castillo and Ali Warzecha

As two staff members depart Rochester University, the Center for Student Life is experiencing shuffled responsibilities for current employees and the hiring of new personnel.

Since 2020, Michelle Guinyard and Brian Petty have been staples of student life at RU. Guinyard worked as the director of community life, served with the RU Staff Senate and worked with student housing. Petty oversaw Ferndale-Hoggatt Hall and was the student activities coordinator. He advised the Community Programming Board and assisted with student leadership recruitment, Crimson Day, SPACE, Warriors Serve, Greek Life and other projects.

Both say they are moving on to pursue better opportunities. Petty said in an email he was leaving to return to Kensington Church’s Birmingham campus where he will oversee several volunteer teams. Guinyard is now serving as coordinator for the DREAM Initiative Program at Oakland University where she will help with the persistence and retention of underrepresented students from the Detroit area.

Departures affect students

Brian squats in front of Michelle and a group of students wearing black and yellow “Oxford Strong“ sweatshirts
Guinyard, Petty and RU community members support Oxford High School in 2022.

Jaidan Hornbuckle, a resident assistant in Ferndale Hall and a junior management major, said, “I am a bit worried that the community Brian and Michelle have built will disappear. They both made an effort to reach out to minority students and make them feel welcome. They also focused on bringing our team together and unifying us. I am worried that their care for the community will not be continued.”

Guinyard and Petty were both invested in bringing the community together, especially striving to reach diverse student groups. Guinyard was involved with PRISM, a group that engages with and supports LGBTQ students, and Petty started SPACE, a place for candid conversations.

Trent Fagan, RU’s 2023-2024 student body president and a junior mass communication major, said he was slightly concerned because the incoming employees won’t have the same sense of connection with the students. He said he thinks it will either be "boom or bust," where it will either go really well or really poorly.

Still, others are optimistic about upcoming changes. Katelyn Hargrave, spiritual life coordinator and student life office manager, said, “I think change — while difficult at times — is a good thing. The shape of Student Life continues to change, as does the student body and what students are looking/hoping for. I think new ideas, new energy and new people — whether new to RU or folks in new positions — can be a great addition.”

In this video, RU Student Life employees share about their positions and goals.

Transitions bring new roles

  • Evan Green has been promoted to dean of students after serving as assistant dean of students this past year. Scott Samuels, vice president of admissions and marketing, served as interim dean of student life for the past two years. Green said, “In this new role, I envision working alongside the Center for Student Life staff to continue developing meaningful student engagement opportunities, exciting programming, and creating a sense of belonging for underrepresented students."

  • Dustin McMillan has been promoted to serve as the new director of community life, replacing Guinyard. His previous position was student success and well-being coordinator. “I am excited to be able to work with the students on the ResLife staff and get to know both our residential and commuter students better," he said. McMillan graduated from RU in 2017, and he is currently enrolled in RU's Master of Religious Education in Missional Leadership program.

  • Two resident supervisors will be hired to live on campus. Peighton Douglas, a 2019 alumnus of RU, started as residence hall director and student programming coordinator on April 17.

Douglas excited to help students

Douglas stands in a black sweater and brown cardigan, smiling at the camera
Peighton Douglas, RU’s new residence hall director and student programming director

Before coming to RU, Douglas was the assistant director at Michigan Christian Youth Camp. She graduated from RU in 2019, the first graduating class under the name Rochester University. She is enrolled in RU's MRE program.

Jay Crawford, a resident assistant in Alma Gatewood and sophomore associate of arts major, said, “It’s vital for incoming staff members to know that this community is a family and we need that beloved community energy. I want somebody who’s gonna keep pushing to bring this community together.”

Douglas strives to fit that role. “I just want to be able to do what other staff members did for me,” she said, “I want to be the reason that people stay.”



bottom of page