Why are you serving on the Council on Equity and Inclusion?
As a member of the President’s Leadership Team and an advocate for faculty, staff, and students, it is important that my role as Interim Vice President of Equity and Inclusion is at the table for the Council on Equity and Inclusion. The Council will allow me to make sure decisions and conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion are moving forward. In addition, it will allow the Council to make sure the community is at the center of these conversations and we continue to move the DEI needle forward.
What drives your interest in and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracist work?
As a man of color this work is very important to me. I want to serve as an advocate for the St. Olaf community and be involved in conversations surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a former Associate Dean of Admissions, I was fortunate to recruit diverse students to campus and now I want to support these students along with the entire campus community. It is important for me to be involved in these conversations to dismantle inequitable systems and for St. Olaf College to become a more inclusive community. In addition, as a predominately white institution it is crucial that we recruit and retain faculty and staff of color as this should be more reflective of our incoming student body. I plan to collaborate with Human Resources during this academic year.
When someone asks you how they can support this work on campus, what is your advice?
I believe that we get caught up with our day to day and we must take a step back, reevaluate, and reflect, looking at power and privilege. Everyone arrives at St. Olaf with their own “worldview” and their own experiences. We must ask ourselves: how can we make a difference in our offices/classrooms and the entire community? We must step outside the box and learn from each other. Meet someone new. Be involved. Make a difference. Be a catalyst for change.
What is your hope for the future of St. Olaf?
My goal is for the entire community to feel included. Each member of the community has a unique story. I hope that the community feels at home regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, and religion. I hope we can uplift and empower each other to become better Oles and global citizens.
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