Laura W. Rugless has been named the executive director of equity and access in the Department of Human Resources at Virginia Tech.

"Laura brings a wealth of experience to Virginia Tech. She not only knows our legal responsibilities as an employer, she believes in the values outlined in our Principles of Community,” said Hal Irvin, associate vice president of human resources. "She is a veteran with both state and university equal opportunity experience who cares deeply about treating people fairly."

In her new position, Rugless will lead the university’s efforts to foster an inclusive, discrimination/harassment-free environment for all employees. She will direct the university’s affirmative action efforts, compliance and conflict resolution programs, and be responsible for the university’s employee relations program.

"I’m excited about joining an institution that is so clearly committed to equal access, a diverse workforce, and a campus community free of discrimination and harassment,” said Rugless.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Rugless worked as the equal employment opportunity and employee relations manager for the Virginia Department of Health. From 2007 to 2009, she served as equal opportunity officer for policy and legal compliance at the University of Virginia. She has been a member of the Virginia State Bar since 2000.

Rugless also has experience working as a judicial law clerk for the Supreme Court of Virginia and an assistant staff judge advocate officer and equal opportunity officer for the U.S. Army Reserve. She also served for three years full-time active duty as a tactical military intelligence officer in the Army Intelligence Corps.

Rugless received her bachelor's degree in Russian and international studies and her Juris Doctor degree from The College of William & Mary. She is a member of The College of William & Mary Law School Hinz Fellowship Selection Committee and the Order of the Barristers.

Karisa A. Moore, who has been serving as the interim director since July, will return to her position as the director of equity initiatives.

The Office of Equity and Access, which is part of the Department of Human Resources, houses University ADA Services, Compliance and Conflict Resolution, Employee Relations, and Equity Initiatives.  The role of the Office of Equity and Access in human resources is to support and advance the university's commitment to diversity and ensure a campus community free from discrimination and harassment. 

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