Fond Farewell: Director of Equal Opportunity retiring

Director and Title IX coordinator, Huda Melky, from Sierra, Egypt, poses for a photo inside her office located in the Wetherby Administration Building, Monday, April 20, 2015. Melky has been the Equal Opportunity Employer at Western Kentucky University since 1979 and after 36 years, she will retire June 30, 2015. Jeff Brown/HERALD

Trey Crumbie

After 36 years on the Hill, Huda Melky, director of the office of equal opportunity and Title IX coordinator, is retiring. 

Melky’s retirement was announced Tuesday via email by Richard Miller, vice provost and chief diversity officer. The announcement of the retirement came eight days after WKU’s Title IX office concluded their investigation of hazing allegations of the swim team, which Melky helped conduct.

Melky said she originally wanted to retire a year ago, but decided to stay an extra year to help with WKU’s Title IX compliance. She was named Title IX coordinator by President Gary Ransdell last year.

She said once she retires, she plans on visiting family and touring Europe for a month.

Melky, of Syria, came to WKU in 1979. As director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, Melky is responsible for ensuring that WKU is compliant in areas such as affirmative action, the Americans with Disabilities Act and  nondiscrimination. As Title IX coordinator, Melky is responsible for dealing with sexual assault/misconduct cases on WKU’s campus and informing the campus community about sexual assault/misconduct policies and procedures.

Melky said she enjoys making sure WKU is compliant with the law. 

“To me that is so rewarding, and it’s my passion,” she said.

Joshua Hayes, assistant director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, has worked with Melky for about a decade. Hayes said Melky provided him support even before he started his job.

“She’s been my rock,” he said. “So I’m definitely going to miss being able to have her in my corner.” 

Hayes recalled a time where he was questioning his ability to to perform his job after five years. Hayes said he felt that he was behind and didn’t want to be a disappointment to Melky, who told Hayes that it was uncommon for people the equal opportunity field to last more than two to three years and that Hayes’s persistence indicated that he would be in the field for decades. Hayes said that speech gave him encouragement.

“That was a major turning, point five years ago, for me,” he said. 

Hayes said that the nature of his and Melky’s job can be stressful, but that only strengthens their professional relationship.

“You have to have a love and passion for it,” he said. “And I have that. And she has that. And so we feed off each other extremely well.”

Matt Davis, coordinator for the Student Accessibility Resource Center, first met Melky when he was a student at WKU in the fall of 1994 and later worked under her when he became a WKU staff member in August of 2001. 

Davis credited his growth as a student and as a professional to Melky.

“There’s no way that I would be the person I am today without Huda’s help all throughout the years,” he said.  

Richard Miller, to whom Melky reports, said he will miss Melky’s attitude. 

“She’s always been a person with a smile on her face,” he said.

Melky said she is excited to retire as it will allow her to focus on herself. 

“You can achieve personal goals rather than career goals,” she said.

Melky said she is going to miss WKU, but still plans to visit campus every now and then.

“Western is my extended family,” she said.

Melky’s replacements for her positions have not been determined. Her retirement reception will be Thursday, April 30 at 2 p.m. in the Kentucky Room of the Kentucky Building.