As the director of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Title IX at Colorado State University-Pueblo, Roosevelt T. Wilson has mastered the need to be prepared. He has brought years of military training and expertise to his position, where he is working to create a more inclusive and diverse environment on campus.
Wilson spent 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, about 15 years on duty assignments all over Europe. He retired as a senior master sergeant, just one promotion shy of being at the top of the enlisted corps.
Wilson’s first job in the Air Force was an aircrew life support specialist.
“When you walk on board a military aircraft, there is certain equipment in there that is designed to save your life if the engine fails, ranging from parachutes, oxygen systems, life preservers and life rafts. You name it. If it has to do with life sustainment, I probably had something to do with it,” Wilson said.
Wilson spent his first few years in the military maintaining the equipment on board various types of military aircraft such as C-130, C-5, C-141 and fighter jets.
He said the motto was, “We are the last to let you down.”
“If the engine fails on that aircraft, they have to rely on the life support systems to get them out safely. In the case of a fighter jet aircraft, the ejection seat systems and the parachute have to deploy, and of course, depending on what altitude they bail out, they must have oxygen, so I worked on and maintained all of those systems to include survival training. If they have to bail out over combat territory, they will need to know how to escape and conceal or camouflage themselves, what they can eat in various parts of the world for life sustainment,” Wilson said.
After ten years of service, Wilson applied to change his job and train in equal opportunity and affirmative action. He was accepted and spent the remainder of his Air Force career as a professional military education instructor. He trained first-time supervisors and mid-level managers how to be more effective in their roles.
In 2009, Wilson retired from the Air Force. His military travels had brought him through Colorado, and he thought it was a beautiful state with a little bit of everything for everyone. He was stationed in England before he retired, and his wife, Tina, was a silver service employee, working for the Air Force as well. She found out that a position at Peterson Air Force Base was open and that she was qualified for the job, so they moved to Colorado. Since then, she has transferred to the Air Force Academy.
Wilson is originally from South Carolina, and Tina is originally from England. Tina and their daughter, Chanel, hold dual citizenship in the United States and England.
Wilson said he is a bookworm and loves to spend time with his family when he’s not working. He loves reading leadership and management related books and said that his favorite author is John C. Maxwell, who teaches leadership from a Christian standpoint.
Wilson came to CSU-Pueblo to help train people on campus regarding EO/AA and Title IX. The equal opportunity and affirmative action director, according to the university website, carries out CSU-Pueblo’s commitment to prevent prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability or veteran status against any of its faculty, staff, students or invited guests.
The office provides leadership and support to enhance campus diversity and an inclusive community, as well as developing, implementing and monitoring CSU-Pueblo’s affirmative action plan and non-discrimination policy and procedures. It also provides resources and training on diversity issues, sexual and racial harassment prevention, and workplace and education equality.
The office is also responsible for the oversight and investigation of complaints of harassment or discrimination prohibited under law.
“There are variations of how each institute fills those requirements. Some do much better than others, but having Title IX doesn’t mean you have more resources than other institutions, it’s how the person specialized in Title IX presents the knowledge to those in need,” Wilson said.
He does not deal with criminal investigations but works strictly with a civil rights investigation.
“Preponderance of the evidence is more likely than not, something occurred versus beyond a reasonable doubt on the criminal side,” he said. “People need to understand the civil rights construct so that they don’t feel that a crime has to be strictly dealt with criminally.”
This semester, Wilson is working with other offices on campus to implement the new “It’s On Us” campaign, which deals with sexual assault prevention and the education of students and staff on college campuses.
Wilson is originally from South Carolina, and his wife Tina is originally from England. Tina and their daughter, Chanel, hold dual citizenship in the United States and England.
The training he received in the Air Force prepared him for the work he is doing at CSU-Pueblo, but if he could choose any other line of work other than equal opportunity and affirmative action, he said he would love to be a diversity educator or teach in adult education.