Revised: Vice President Peña to Retire from KU Dec. 22
An addendum was announced Sept. 27, 2023 and can be found below:
At the urging of Kutztown University President Kenneth S. Hawkinson, Vice President Jesus Peña will be remaining in his position for the foreseeable future. President Hawkinson said, “Though VP Peña informed me last year of his intent to retire this December, he has agreed to suspend his letter of retirement to a future date to be determined. His unique skills, background and experience make him indispensable at this time and he has kindly agreed to stay. I am grateful for this sacrifice on his part and his action speaks yet again to his professionalism and commitment to Kutztown University.”
VP Peña wishes to express his appreciation for the many messages of congratulations he received after the announcement of his retirement and looks forward to continuing to support the faculty, staff and students of Kutztown University, the State System and other audiences.
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Jesus A. Peña, Esq., vice president for Compliance, Equity and liaison for Legal Affairs at Kutztown University, has announced that he will be retiring from the institution, effective Friday, Dec. 22. Peña has served Kutztown University for two decades.
Peña oversees the offices of Disability Services, Human Resources, Public Safety and Police Services and Social Equity. He leads KU’s protection of minors efforts and was responsible for the creation, implementation and oversight of the university’s Risk Assessment Plan. He also conducts all Article 42, 22 and Title IX investigations. Additionally, Peña has served as the interim Title IX coordinator for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, providing support and coordination for matters related to Title IX within the State System.
“My congratulations to vice president Jesus Peña on the public announcement of his well-earned retirement,” said Kutztown University president Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson. “I am grateful, that when he informed me of his retirement plans a year ago, at my urging, he generously agreed to extend his retirement date to after the completion of the fall 2023 semester.
“Jesus has had one of the most challenging jobs on campus, dealing with very controversial issues, yet handles his responsibilities with professionalism, calmness and grace. He has been a strong advocate for First Amendment rights and due process for all, as well as being a strong supporter of the Latino community and increased support for students in need. I have been very fortunate, as has the broader Kutztown University community, to have someone with his credentials and experience in this very important position. His work has been exemplary, and he will be missed.”
Peña was named to the VP role in July of 2019. Prior to that, Peña served as KU’s deputy to the president for Compliance, Equity and Legal Affairs, as well as the university’s Title IX coordinator for 15 years. His responsibilities included providing leadership in shaping the direction of the university, directly advising the president and the president’s cabinet on matters pertaining to equal employment and educational opportunities. He drafted policies, programming and training to educate the campus community on civil rights laws and regulations, the university’s Sexual Harassment Policy, Anti-Harassment Policy, Anti-Discrimination Policy, Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act and the Clery Act, among various other duties.
Some of Peña’s specific accomplishments include restructuring the university police department, assisting in the increase of the number of faculty and administrators of color employed at KU, drafting the university’s annual Affirmative Action Plan and the Adjunct Pool Hiring Guidelines, and assisting in the creation of an educational training video titled “How to Request Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.” He also oversaw the provision of necessary and reasonable accommodations to approximately 700 qualified students, faculty and staff with disabilities.
“As I depart from the university, I take with me many fond memories,” Peña said. “It is extremely fulfilling to end my career at such a wonderful academic institution, surrounded by so many esteemed colleagues. I wish Kutztown University, continued success.”
Prior to his time at KU, Peña served as the director of Communications and Press for the Pennsylvania Department of State, the director of Human Resources for the City of Reading and the owner of his own general law practice. He is also a published author, having written a history book titled, “The History of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc,” and a children’s book titled, “I Will Be a Lambda.”
Peña earned a Bachelor of Arts in history at Rutgers University and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers University School of Law. He has been admitted to the practice of law in New Jersey, Florida, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.
The succession plan for Peña’s role will be determined by the administration in the near future.