November 2022


Greetings St. Olaf Community,

As we enter the month of November, I think about the road that each member of our community has taken to arrive at St. Olaf College. For some, these roads have been filled with twists and turns. For others the road has been quite easy to navigate. Each member of our community has a powerful story, from our colleagues to our talented students. We may have different backgrounds and beliefs, but the common thread that we all share is that we are OLES. Some may think that since they did not graduate from St. Olaf they are not an Ole. Many members of our community would disagree, including the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Chris George. Each member of the St. Olaf community is an OLE. It does not matter if you are a faculty member, staff member who has worked at the college for twelve years and did not graduate from St. Olaf, or a transfer student. YOU ARE AN OLE and part of the St. Olaf experience. 

November is a month of giving thanks and showing gratitude. We are very busy and get wrapped up in our lives. Sometimes, it is important to pause and simply reset. I charge each of you to meet two new individuals this month. If you are a student, simply introduce yourself to other classmates. If you are a faculty or staff member, meet new colleagues. These interactions make a significant difference and will strengthen our community.  

Personally, I am very thankful for our community. When I drive up the hill each morning, I am reminded that we truly have a dynamic community. We really have  something very special here.  

I wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Dr. Reginald H. Miles
Interim Vice President, Equity and Inclusion

November Days are here… 

  • First-Generation College Celebration Week: November 7-11:  Events
  • Prof. Tania Mitchell will be on campus on Thursday, November 10th and Friday, November 11th (note: these dates and times have been updated from an earlier email due to scheduling conflicts). She is an associate professor of higher education in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development at the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development. Prof. Mitchell’s research on service-learning as a critical pedagogy has been published in a wide variety of venues. She is also the editor of four books, including  Educating for Citizenship and Social Justice.

  • On 11/10 from 3:45 p.m.-4:45 p.m. in Viking Theater, Prof. Mitchell will deliver a public lecture on the connections between work in diversity, equity, and inclusion and ethical community engagement. Sign up here.

Meet Members of Our Community


Name: Chung Park
Position: Associate Professor of Music & Conductor,  St Olaf Orchestra
Dr. Park teaches string techniques, violin, and chamber music.

Department: Music
From:  Busan, South Korea and Chicago, IL
BM        Bachelors of Music, Peabody Institute
MMus   Masters of Music: Viola Performance, Western Michigan University
MMus   Masters of Music: Conducting,  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
PhD.      Doctorate of Music: Conducting, University of Miami

  1. When did you start your St. Olaf journey as a faculty member?
    August 2022
  2. Why did you want to work at St. Olaf College?
    The opportunity to work at an internationally renowned music program grounded within the liberal arts has been my goal for most of my professional life.
  3. What is your definition of an inclusive community?
    To me, an inclusive space means never having to wonder if I belong somewhere. It is my responsibility as a teacher, mentor and faculty member to create this accepting space for every student and colleague regardless of race, religion, gender and sexual identity or disability. I also hold the expectation that everyone, regardless of these attributes, can contribute equally and valuably to the community as a scholar, learner, teacher and neighbor. The tyranny of low expectations is the worst type of discrimination I have personally encountered, and I have made it a central part of my teaching ethos to make sure my students never encounter this in our work together.
  4. What is your personal ‘tagline’?
    “Serve others”
  5. No one knows that I….traveled to 49 states.


Name: Mari Tototzintle Avaloz
Position: Program Director

Department: TRIO/Upward Bound
From: Saint Paul, Minnesota

B.A.        Criminal Justice Studies, Saint Cloud State University
MSW    Masters of Social Work, Saint Catherine University and the University of Saint Thomas

  1. When did you start your St. Olaf journey as a staff member?
    November 2000
  2. Why did you want to work at St. Olaf College?
    I wanted to work for St. Olaf, specifically for the TRIO/Upward Bound program, because I am an alumna of the program. As a high school student, I spent four wonderful summers living on campus and I knew once I graduated from college I wanted to give back to the program.
  3. What is your definition of an inclusive community?
    I believe for a community to be truly inclusive it has to feel safe for everyone. Feeling safe to walk in a room and sit anywhere, feeling valued, and feeling free to express thoughts and opinions without fear of repercussion.
  4. What is your personal ‘tagline’?
    “Smile, you work up!! Be thankful to play this game called life another 24 hrs.” – Alex Toussaint
  5. No one knows that I….was (and still am) a total fan of 90s hair bands! Glam metal is my jam!

Co-Creating an Inclusive Community

Our Co-Creating an Inclusive Community initiative provides students, faculty, staff, and leadership the space to work together to envision and create a more inclusive St. Olaf experience, where    people of all identities experience connection, belonging, and agency. Departments have been asked to complete a short survey with their teams. These results will highlight what has happened at the department level, which is another important area for institutional change. The next phase of Co-Creating will be launched in Spring 2023.

Fall 2021 Student Survey Results on thriving and belonging are now available!

  • Fall 2021 Student survey results 
  • National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climate (NACCC)  
  • This is a snapshot of our student data. More will be shared soon.  There will be opportunities for conversations during the next round of Co-Creating  conversations (Spring 2023)               
  • Please note that some of the results will be integrated in our DEI Dashboard  

Bias Response 

St. Olaf College is committed to fostering a welcoming community for all students, faculty, and staff. An informed awareness of the climate on campus is an important part of the college’s efforts to create a supportive academic and residential environment for our community. The college does not tolerate any bias incidents toward its community members. The college expects its students, faculty, and staff to refrain from acts of intolerance directed at other members, including (but not limited to) harassment, hate speech, and discrimination. Reporting Bias                                   

What is a bias incident?
A bias incident is any behavior or actions directed against a person or property that includes the use of slurs expressing prejudice on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression, but is not a criminal offense.

Examples of Bias Incidents Include:

  • Using offensive language or slang based on a person’s identity 
  • Offensive social media post
  • Tampering property
  • Violent acts

What are microaggressions?
Microaggressions are brief, common exchanges that are often automatic and unintentional. They include verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative insults to a targeted group or individuals based on race, color, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression.

Examples of Microaggressions include:

  • Comments that single out a person based on their identity
  • Deliberately not using a transgender person’s preferred pronouns
  • Excluding a person due to religious practices

The Bias Response Team contains members of our community and  some of the members serve in an advisory role  with a goal of confirming that each case is addressed.

Members of the Team Include:

  • Derek Kruse, Director of Public Safety (Advisory Group) 
  • Pamela McDowell, Title IX Coordinator (Advisory Group) 
  • Martin Olague, Director of Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion (Advisory Group) 
  • David Castro, Faculty Representative (Advisory Group)
  • Grace Cho, Faculty Representative (Advisory Group)
  • Christopher Medley (Medley), Associate Dean of Students (Advisory Group)
  • Rosalyn Easton, Dean of Students
  • Leslie Moore, VP for Human Resources
  • Reginald Miles,  Chair of Bias Response Team 

What happens when a bias incident report is submitted?

  1. The Interim Vice President of Equity and Inclusion contacts the reporting party to acknowledge that the bias incident report has been received. 
  2. The report is sent to the appropriate individuals (below) to manage the case. Appropriate parties are contacted about the case and the cases are investigated. The College’s General Counsel is involved at times due to the  severity of the case.
  3. Individuals managing cases will report back to the advisory group with the result of their cases at the end of each month.
  4. Each report will indicate whether the incident is bias and be part of the College’s tracking and reporting. 


  • Student submits a report regarding another student – Dean of Students will manage the case 
  • Student submits a report regarding a faculty member- VP for Equity and Inclusion will manage the case
  • Student submits a report regarding a staff member-VP for Human Resources will manage the case


  • Faculty member submits a report regarding another faculty member- VP for Equity and Inclusion will work with the Provost’s Office 
  • Faculty member submits a report regarding a staff member- VP for Human Resources will manage the case
  • Faculty member submits a report regarding a student- VP for Equity and Inclusion will manage the case


  • Staff member submits a report regarding another staff member- VP for Human Resources will manage the case
  • Staff member submits a report regarding a faculty member- VP for Human Resources will manage the case
  • Staff member submits a report regarding a student- VP for Human Resources will manage the case

Upcoming Dates

November 4, 6:45 p.m., The Pause
Omkara is an annual campus culture celebration by South Asian and multicultural students. Culture, tradition, dance performance, act, social issue, music, singing, and food are shared.
Contact Bhagyashree Thombare with any questions

POC Ole Theater Fall Show
November 11, 7:00 p.m., The Pause
Contact Paulina Morera Quesada with any questions

Kente Summit for Black Men
November 11-12, departure Friday afternoon at Buntrock
“Black Futurism: Imagining and Shaping Our Future”, The objective of the Kente Summit for Collegiate Black Men is to assemble male undergraduate students of African descent in order to build community across campuses, identities, experiences and commonly faced issues, while honoring identity, intersectionality, inclusion, and intentionality – the four cornerstones of the Kente Summit.
Contact Martin Olague with any questions

Hmong New Year
November 13, 4 p.m.-7:00 p.m., The Pause
HCO and HDL will be co-hosting this annual Hmong New Year’s Celebration
Contact Kabao Xiong with any questions

Dedicated Affinity Groups for Faculty and Staff 

If you want to learn more about our affinity and how you can get involved, reach out to your colleagues below:

BIPOC      Contact Marie New (,  Admissions

LGBTQIA+  Contact Eric Eischens (, Facilities

DEI Symposium -Tuesday, April 4, 2023-Save the Date (date change)

Key Days in November

  • Native American Heritage Month
  • November 8: Election Day
  • November 9: World Adoption Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day
  • November 12: Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
  • November 12: World Kindness Day
  • November 20: Trans Day of Remembrance
  • November 25: Thanksgiving Day