Working to ensure equity: Adrienna Sanchez

Adrienna Sanchez

“I joined the university because of its prestige and the actual proof that they take diversity, equity, and inclusion seriously.” - Adrienna Sanchez

By: Adrienna Sanchez

I am the newest equity investigator with the Complaint Investigations Unit, at the Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity (EOD), Division of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DDEI). This office implements diversity policies at the University of Iowa and supports the university’s compliance with federal/state laws and regulations and university policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and sexual harassment by or toward any UI community member.

After earning my bachelors degree cum laude from the University of Florida, I endeavored to go to law school and was accepted to Drake University Law School, in Des Moines, Iowa, with an amazing scholarship. This was a huge victory and a first for my family.

While in law school, there were a few people that ensured my success and made Iowa feel like my new home. The first person I met was Professor Russell Lovell, now emeritus professor. Professor Lovell exposed me to Iowa’s rich history of civil rights and its pioneering case Clark v. Board of School Directors. This case set new precedent that schools could no longer discriminate based on race.

The decision came down almost a century before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case in 1954.

Knowing this, I felt a deep connection with Iowa and a sense of belonging. Fortunately, Professor Lovell often discussed the law as a “shield” and “sword.” I had never heard the law described as this and it rekindled my fire every time I thought of quitting.  

During law school, I forged deep relationships with members of the Des Moines legal community. I often leaned on these individuals when I needed guidance on how to navigate the legal community. I saw all of these individuals as a strong force that would not let me settle professionally and was there to support me. My deep connections with the legal community in Des Moines encouraged me to stay in Iowa a bit longer than expected.

What I love most about being an equity investigator is that I am neutral and impartial. I don’t do any moral weighing of right and wrong, instead, I get to safeguard the integrity of the policy by ensuring the process of investigations is thorough and impartial.