Meet The New VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

John Hudson Selected for the Position



New Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is ready to begin a new chapter in his life.

After completing a national search, EvCC has elected John Hudson as the new VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Hudson will begin his tenure in April of 2023. Hudson is excited for the opportunity to contribute towards what he believes is a diverse learning environment. “EvCC is one of the rare institutions of higher education in the United States that has diversity, equity and inclusion strongly integrated throughout its strategic plan,” said Hudson in a press release.

Hudson grew up in a middle class household in Northern Michigan. “My mother grew up as she describes it, dirt poor,” says Hudson. Hudson’s maternal mother died when his mother was young. Shortly after, Hudson’s grandfather and aunt passed away. Despite this, Hudson’s mother wanted to pursue higher education. However, she had to stay back and help out Hudson’s grandmother with the house, she wasn’t able to pursue her goals. Because of these circumstances, she didn’t want the same thing to happen to her children. “She was determined that her kids were going to go to college.” Says Hudson. Looking back, Hudson calls this “one of the most privileged moments in his life.”

“I started to realize overtime, privilege became a (thing) we started to talk about,” says Hudson. Through his experiences in teaching overseas and coaching powerlifting, he gained more knowledge about the concept of privilege. This led him on a long journey that included teaching in Korea for six years and becoming a powerlifter coach at the University of Houston-Downtown.

John Hudson coached at UHD from 2007-2017. In his career, Hudson has coached 52 National and 46 World Championships in his career.

Hudson coached powerlifting for six years at Houston-Downtown but it wasn’t always easy. “We have the second lowest tuition of any four year university in Texas. We really cut a lot of costs to keep that tuition down,” says Hudson. Houston-Downtown is a Hispanic and Minority serving institution. “Many of our students are from immigrant families, so(if) someone gets hurt and the income is missing, they drop out for a semester and work,” shares Hudson. As a coach, Hudson did whatever was necessary to keep his athletes on a steady path. “I would do whatever I could to keep them connected, to keep them on track. You get out of school and life gets its hooks on you and it gets harder and harder to get back in.” Says Hudson.

Hudson’s journey that started at a young age with life lessons from his mother all came to a head during his tenure as coach of Houston-Downtown. “We only had one white member on our team, and I would see our lifters racially profiled time after time,” recalls Hudson. This led to an incident when the team was heading back home from Dallas. “We stopped for gas at a little tiny town on the interstate,” shares Hudson. As he recalls, three of his lifters were walking in front of him. “There’s two white women behind the counter looking at my lifter’s oddly, one has a phone in their hand,” Hudson recalls. “Please tell me she’s not doing what I think she’s doing, she was calling the police,” said Hudson.

The athletes were being set up, “I had to use every bit of white privilege I had to get them out of there,” says Hudson. The athletes were very grateful, “they thought I did the right thing,” Hudson said. Hudson didn’t feel good about the situation at all but he knew he had to get his athletes home before the police showed up. The next day Hudson called all three of his athletes and apologized for what had transpired. “Don’t worry coach, we see this sort of thing all the time,” Hudson’s athletes said. “Everything in my head dropped into my heart,” shared Hudson after a long pause.

“How could anybody see that all the time and ever have any joy in their life. If that were me, I would be dead or in prison.” “Then I realized that’s my white privilege talking, nobody’s going to treat me that way,” shares Hudson. Hudson shares that when his athletes were accused, they took a passive body stance. It’s what their parents taught them because they want them to make it home in the end. From Hudson’s perspective he had never seen that before but he quickly realized that if he were in their shoes, he would’ve done the same thing. “I would’ve been taught to survive,” Hudson said.

Hudson has dedicated his work to fixing these issues. He made a decision after that day to use his knowledge and experience of working on campus about these issues, “if I don’t spend the rest of my life trying to find a solution to this, then I’m part of the problem and I would not be able to live with myself,” said Hudson.

Interim President Darrell Cain was part of the hiring process for the selection of John Hudson.

Hudson brings many qualities to EvCC. “John Hudson stood out because of the qualities of understanding the importance in values of diversity, equity and inclusion.” Said Darrell Cain, interim president of EvCC. Cain shares how Hudson brings strategic leadership, being able to see the big picture. “For example he’s(Hudson) likely gonna hold some forums or go to some student clubs and meetings just to listen, to learn and to assess.” Shares Cain on Hudson’s role at EvCC. According to Cain, Hudson’s focus will be on understanding the needs of students so he can get a better perspective on how to strengthen the community.

The strategic plan involves eliminating all opportunity gaps at EvCC. “There’s a common goal that we set as an institution and that is to eliminate all opportunity gaps for historically underrepresented students by 2027.” Shares Cain. This is a long term goal shared by Cain but one that he, Hudson and the rest of the institution are dedicated to. “What you will see within the next couple of months is leading indicators. The actionable items that we’ll be designing and working towards, I anticipate he’ll(Hudson) be instrumental of helping and supporting all of our staff members in assessing the effectiveness of them,” shares Cain.

“I learned more from students than from all the books I read, sharing their stories and experiences to help me understand what things are like in their shoes,” says Hudson. Hudson is actually from a community college himself. It has all come full circle for Hudson as he will soon take on his new role at EvCC. “I think community colleges are some of the most important teaching that goes on in community colleges,” shares Hudson.
“We want to make sure that this is an inclusive environment. It’s really important that students feel a sense of connection and affiliation. We want to create this environment where students can build community, where they can feel engaged. We want to empower them.” Shares Cain.