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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update – April 26

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This is part of a series of regular updates that Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier sends to the campus community.

Dear St. Olaf Community,

This week we continue the celebration of Disability Awareness Weeks. Last week many of our SSSD Peer Leaders took time to table and engage us in conversation about the realities of students with disabilities at St. Olaf. Did you know? There are 828 students currently enrolled with some type of accommodation. There are many different types of disabilities — including  physical/chronic health, mental health, ADHD, learning disabilities, and autism spectrum, to name just a few — and the most common on our campus is mental health followed by physical/chronic health. During these weeks, we will take extra steps to raise awareness about the support and rights of people with disabilities and to celebrate their contributions to our communities and society. Take time to attend at least one of the events. My experience is that disability is one of the areas of DEI that is less discussed and considered since it is often an invisible identity. 

See below for all the great events we have planned for this final portion of Disability Awareness Weeks.

Featured Event: Dr. Angela Carter and Dr. Jennie Row
Increasing Access and Understanding Disability in Higher Education
Friday, April 29, 2022
Join us via Zoom at 10 a.m.

Hallway Display: Experiences of Oles with Disabilities
Monday, April 25, 2022
Between Buntrock Commons and Boe Chapel
Presented by: SSSD

SSSD Peer Leaders
Chapel Talk Speakers: Jenna Becker ’23, Abby Engbrecht ’24, Lily Mork ’23, and SSSD Program Director Chang Dao Vang ’11
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Boe Chapel, 10:10am

Trivia Night
Thursday, April 28, 2022
Lion’s Pause Mane Stage, 8-9 p.m.
Presented by: SSSD Peer Leaders and the Office of Student Activities

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium
I am full of excitement (and nerves) as our inaugural DEI symposium approaches. We have many wonderful speakers, presentations, and opportunities for development. As part of the symposium, we will recognize a number of students, staff, and faculty who have engaged with the work of DEI in different ways. These members of our community will receive the Equity and Inclusion Leadership and Service Award. The award recognizes outstanding leadership and engagement in creating, advancing, and sustaining social change for the well-being of diverse and underserved communities. Selecting these recipients was extremely difficult for the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We have many deserving members and impactful work happening all over campus. Please join me in congratulating the inaugural recipients of the awards. We are excited to recognize you on May 6!


  • Andrea Diaz ’22
  • Anja Dulin ’23
  • Mariam Prater ’23 


  • Norma Charlton, Assistant Director of Equity and Intercultural Engagement 
  • Marie New, Director of Enrollment Operations 
  • Nayeli Trujillo, Assistant Director of Academic Support


  • Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Professor of English
  • Jeremy Loebach, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Jonathan Naito, Associate Professor of English 

Co-Creating an Inclusive Community Initiative Update
Last week, 15 co-creating leaders facilitated small group discussions during our all-staff meeting about Ole Culture. Ole Culture is a term that has been widely used to describe different aspects about who we are as a community. These aspects can be positive or negative, and they can be hard to pinpoint. They impact our sense of belonging and our ability to connect with others. One example of the positive impact of Ole Culture is our strong sense of community and engagement with each other. One example of an aspect of Ole Culture that hinders inclusion is our sense of “business” that many times gets in the way of connecting with each other. During the conversation, staff identified next steps for their own spaces as well as for the college as a whole. The co-creating team (Jo Beld, Leslie Moore, and I) will look at the information collected and, in collaboration with the rest of the PLT and individual departments, we will continue to address the issues identified and learn from those who have identified antidotes. A special thank you to the Task Force to Confront Structural Racism Ole Culture Subcommittee. They worked last year to develop the structure we used for our discussion at the all-staff meeting, and many of their members volunteered their time to facilitate the small group discussions. 

This year the co-creating leaders have been busy meeting with departments/divisions, providing them with their unique report and identifying next steps. We have currently met with 22 out of the 30 groups. A special thank you to these leaders who have done amazing work and taken time out of their schedule to partner with me.

Opportunities for Development on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism
Mentoring Women of Color: Programs to Overcome Inequities to Ensure Success and A Sense of Belonging
As part of our targeted professional development opportunities, the DEI Office has purchased access to this training. The purpose of this training is to discuss ideas and opportunities to develop programs that support women of color by overcoming inequities and increasing a sense of belonging. As a result of attending this webinar, you will be able to:

  • Create a culturally competent and responsive campus community for all women of color.
  • Explore the various ways formal and informal mentorship supports women students of color.
  • Develop essential skills necessary to engage in cross racial-ethnic mentorship.
  • Identify the unique challenges women of color experience in higher education.

To access the training go here

Bias Report Update

Total Reports* Intakes** Restorative Justice Process Investigations
51 48 1 1

*Reports are from Sept 2021-Apr 2022
**Intakes are not done when a report is anonymous or the reporting party requests to not be contacted
***Reporting Parties: 36 students, 10 staff members, 1 Anonymous, 4 Faculty
****Responding Parties: 9 students, 4 staff members, 10 Unknown, 25 Faculty, 4 Institutional Organizations
*****Targeted parties: 42 students, 2 staff members, 6 Unknown, 1 Faculty


Dr. María C. Pabón Gautier
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion