DSU hires new legal counsel

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Dixie State university has a new member of administration, operating in a position the university hasn’t had in the past, who will help refine the legal processes at the university. 

Following several lawsuits filed by students against DSU, the new position of general counsel has been added to administration. DSU has been sharing assistant attorney general Michael Carter with Southern Utah University until now. Doajo Hicks recently accepted the position of general counsel. This position will add more personalized legal advice and application to DSU. 

Students have received settlements from DSU in the past couple of semesters.

President Biff Williams said he considers the position of general counsel to be imperative to the legal workings at DSU.

According to the position posting, the general counsel is the chief legal authority of DSU, providing advice and legal counsel on legal and public policy issues associated with the university. 

General counsel will make sure the university complies with federal laws and regulations and will attend on-campus hearings and work closely with other legal entities on campus such as Title IX. He will provide information and training to minimize legal risks and costs in addition to coordinating with the assistant attorney general in order to prompt legal issues the university may encounter. 

Hicks had been working as the deputy general counsel at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland Ohio. CCC is a much bigger school than DSU, Hicks said. He said he is looking forward to a slower paced, more personal experience in St. George.

Hicks said his background in student issues and health administration will help him with his responsibilities. He said he has researched the recent lawsuits which DSU has settled like the discrimination lawsuit settled between DSU and two former members of the womens basketball team.  Hicks said he hopes to help lawsuits like these in the future go more smoothly for both the university and students. 

Williams said Hicks was chosen for the position because of the “incredible breadth and depth of his background experiences.”

“He’s been a police officer, he’s been a healthcare administrator, (and) he’s been a student,” Williams said. “He also is finishing his doctorate degree, so he’s a very educated person.”

Hicks is also the only African-American member of DSU administration. 

“When we were looking at candidates, we wanted to make sure somebody had experience in higher education,” Williams said. “We wanted someone that had experience monitoring appeals from students, someone that’s worked with faculty, who has seen policies and procedures that understand the laws, that really pertain to those policies and procedures, [and] someone that’s up to date.”

Hicks said he plans to be available, approachable and responsive as the general counsel on campus. He said his first plan on campus is to set up as many appointments with faculty and students as he can in order to be fully aware of the needs of the university.

“I believe my background in higher education and health law is a great fit for [DSU], and I am enthusiastic about getting started,” Hicks said.