María Pabón Gautier

María C Pabón Gautier
María C Pabón Gautier, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion (Council Chair)

Why are you serving on the Council on Equity and Inclusion?
As the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, the role of chairing the council is crucial. The Council allows me to make sure that decisions, conversations, and next steps surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism are centered in our community. It helps us not to fall into the mistake of “about us without us.”

What drives your interest in and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracist work?
This is deeply personal work for me, as a woman of color with two little Boricuas at home. I have made it part of my own journey, because of the privilege that I hold, to intentionally work to dismantle racist and inequitable systems so we can move from inviting people to the table to creating opportunities for others to build their own tables.

When someone asks you how they can support this work on campus, what is your advice?
You need to look inward and understand your own role in this work. What does power and privilege look like for you? What resources and capital do you have access to? How can you share that power, and many times give up that power, so others can take space? This work is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so our role in it can’t be that way.

What is your hope for the future of St. Olaf?
I hope that we work with each other to make sure we have a community that goes beyond welcoming people. I hope for a community where all people are part of its fabric and culture, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, nationality, and religion. I hope for a place where we can continue to challenge the status quo at the same time we celebrate the work that has been accomplished.