During her tenure, University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols focused her efforts to increase Native student inclusion and enrollment; it was especially low when she arrived. News that the University won't renew Nichols' contract has led some tribal leaders to express concern and shock, according to James Trosper, the director of the High Plains American Indian Research Institute (HPAIRI) at UW and a member of both tribes on the Wind River Reservation.
Trosper works closely with Nichols as a member of her Native American Advisory Committee. He said thanks to Nichols, there's now a Native American Center on campus, a Native Student Summer Institute (NASI), and improved direct relations with tribes.
Trosper said Nichols immediately promoted a message of inclusion.
"I don't care what group you belong to, when you hear that, you know you're going to be included," said Trosper. "Not just say it, but your actions actually show it. And that's what President Nichols did and I'm really hoping the next person that comes in will have that same message."
Trosper served several years on the UW Board of Trustees in the 1990s and said he trusts that the board made the best decision they could and hopes to understand their reasoning in the future.