Vanessa Henderson joined the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action in May 2023 as an Associate Director. Vanessa is primarily responsible for investigating allegations of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct reported against staff, faculty, and third-party affiliates of Columbia University.
Prior to joining the Office of the Provost, Vanessa was the Deputy Equal Employment Opportunity Officer with the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner. While there, Vanessa investigated internal reports of discrimination and harassment made by employees, contractors, and interns. Additionally, she handled reasonable accommodation requests that allowed employees to perform the essential functions of their jobs. Vanessa's experience also includes working as a prosecutor with the Office of the Miami-Dade State Attorney and as an attorney in the Office of General Counsel for both a government agency and private corporation, where she primarily handled external employment discrimination and harassment complaints pending with federal, state, and local human rights agencies.
Vanessa earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and a Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law. As a law student, Vanessa served as a member of the Moot Court &Trial Advocacy Board, interned at the New York State Division of Human Rights, and externed at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.