Voices Remembered: Honoring Dr. Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey

Voices Remembered: Honoring Dr. Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey

On January 8, the Lincoln University (MO) community was devastated by the untimely passing of Dr. Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey (49), the Vice President of Student Affairs. The cause of her tragic passing was attributed to distress stemming from what has been described as “bullying and severe mistreatment” after disclosing her mental illness she faced bullying, according to sources close to Dr. Bonnie.

Dr. Bonnie, an alumna of Lincoln University, returned to her alma mater in May 2023, and accepted the role of VP of Student Affairs. She also held key roles in various institutions, including being the VP of Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, Associate Dean of Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Assistant Director of university housing at North Carolina State University.

In the aftermath of Dr. Bonnie’s untimely death, a wave of concern and discontent swept through the community. In response, Dr. John B. Moseley, the university president, was placed on paid administrative leave. Concurrently, Dr. Stevie Lawrence II, the current Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, will assume the role of Acting President during this period of evaluation.

To address the concerns raised and ensure transparency, the Board of Curators has enlisted a team of attorneys led by Ronald Norwood and Jerina Phillips from the Higher Education Practice Group of Lewis Rice. This independent review will thoroughly examine recent issues related to compliance with the university’s established policies and procedures.

Regrettably, the loss of Dr. Bonnie has created a void not only within the Lincoln University community but also within the broader Black community, prompting a collective commitment to addressing the challenges she faced. Sadly, this situation brings attention to the broader issue of injustices faced by Black women in leadership roles within higher education and the C-Suite. Studies indicate a significant underrepresentation of Black women in leadership positions across higher education institutions in the country. Even when Black women manage to break through barriers and secure such roles, they encounter substantial race- and gender-based discrimination.

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