Walter Lain’s resignation raises concerns about diversity groups on campus


Courtesy of Simpson College

Assistant Dean of Multicultural and International Affairs Walter Lain recently announced his plans to leave Simpson College.

by Paul Hyatt, Feature Editor

Walter Lain, Assistant Dean of Multicultural and International Affairs, announced his resignation in an email to the campus’ multicultural groups on Friday, Nov. 5.  

“I wanted to let you all know that I have resigned as the Assistant Dean for Multicultural and International Affairs for Simpson College effective the beginning of January 2022,” the email said. 

Lain said the reason for his resignation was to take time off for family, travel and to prepare for a small law practice in the Des Moines area.  

“The Simpson community called for and received a vice president in diversity, equity and inclusion, Keyah Levy. And I’ve had meetings with her several times and, understanding her visions, I thought this is going to be an opportunity for her to create something that she could kind of grow with. Knowing that I had options, I can always go back and practice law and do some things like that. I thought that this is a great time for me to kind of switch here and do that,” Lain said.

Before being hired at Simpson College for diversity, Lain practiced law in Illinois. Lain’s wife, Carolyn Dallinger, will continue to teach social work and criminal justice at Simpson. 

Lain said he is thankful for his time spent here and the impact he had on students. 

“I’m not saying that what you learned in the math class or the English class are not helpful and important. But what you will recall is the relationships that we make and the people you touch in the activities that you’re engaged in. And to me, that is what the college experience is about,” Lain said. 

With Lain’s resignation, many students involved in diversity groups are concerned for the future.  

He’s [Lain] has always been there to help with different events and help us interact with the community, you know, to promote multiculturalism and give us opportunities to express ourselves. He’s just like the head of all of these multicultural organizations and he has been helping out tremendously,” Steven Cruz-Castro said.  

Joaquin Chavez Martinez, who works closely with Lain, is especially concerned for international students with Lain’s absence.  

“There’s definitely an air of eeriness towards especially international students, who Walter Lain helped with their taxes and filling out forms for healthcare. All that is now going to fall on nobody’s lap because now there isn’t that relationship that Walter had with all of the international students,” Martinez said.  

Lain has been the go-to person for international groups at Simpson throughout his career. Martinez is worried about the change in culture when Lain leaves.  

Definitely, culture on campus is going to become a lot different. No matter who takes over, things are going to change. He is so involved with every group. But I hope that it’s a smooth transition between him and whoever we find to replace him, because he is basically the person in charge of Carver House, LU, ISO, so we need someone to replace him. It’s really up in the air who is going to take that spot,” Martinez said.