St. Olaf College | News

Equity and Inclusion Update

This is the first in a new series of regular updates that Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier will send to the campus community.

Happy International Women’s Month!

Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier
Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier

As Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, I would like to start a new practice of connecting with you, our community, about our work on diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism at the College. Every other week, I will send a message on Friday with updates and action items about our anti-racism work, news, opportunities and resources, bias incident report numbers (once a month), and an area for students’ voices (once a month).  

I have decided to do this because we are scattered in different parts of the state, country, and even the world doing this work within our new reality. I thought it was good to have another way to share, and to reinforce the community I like to be part of — one that does strong and courageous work. “A community that does strong and courageous work is, by its very nature, a community built on core values of integrity, respect, justice, and kindness. Without those four ingredients, it is hard to imagine that any worthy mission can be achieved in any profession, institution, or community.” — Becky Roloff

Derek Chauvin Trial: Take care of yourself and each other
As the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd begins next week, I urge everyone in our community to consider the impact that this trial will have on our students, staff, and faculty, especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Let us not approach this time as business as usual. Stop to check in with yourself and those around you. The emotions and pain surrounding the trial may affect how some of us show up in different spaces. Take care of each other, be kind, and listen for understanding. Take care of yourself, and surround yourself by love, community, and energy that feeds your soul.

I will be sending an email early next week with programs and opportunities that will range from conversation spaces to community care, self-care, healing, and opportunities to learn and understand the different components of the trial. 

Anti-Racism Training
In January, staff, faculty, and students participated in the “Building an Anti-Racist Campus Community” training led by the Washington Consulting Group. We recently surveyed faculty and staff, and students are currently being surveyed. Click  here to view the quantitative results for faculty and staff.  The qualitative data and students’ survey results will be presented in my next communication. We are still synthesizing the information. Thank you to everyone who filled out the evaluation! We will be using this information to continue to inform the next steps of the work. To learn and see more about the Anti-Racism Experience visit the  website

Co-Creating an Inclusive Community
I have been asked several times, “What comes next after the anti-racism training?” The anti-racism training allowed us to create a common experience and common language. The results clearly showed us that we want and need more education and action, that we want to connect with each other around this work, and that we need more guidance and support about our individual roles in this work. Therefore, our next step is the Co-Creating an Inclusive Community initiative. This initiative will have two components, grassroots as well as leadership engagement and work. It is framed around conversations and action. Stay tuned for more information and how to participate.

As announced in Fall 2020, St. Olaf is among the 51 inaugural member institutions of the new Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA). LACRELA aims to address racial inequities at liberal arts colleges. The main benefit as members will be the access college faculty and staff will have to a range of campus surveys, resources, and monthly virtual learning sessions about anti-racism, diversity, and equity provided by the USC center. I will be in touch with faculty and staff to share how they can participate. Click  here for last fall’s announcement. 

Bias Report Update 

Total Reports Intakes Connected with the Reporting Party via email or conversation Restorative Justice Process Investigations
25 12 8 1 3

*Reports are from August 2020 to February 2021

**Reporting Parties: 27 students, 1 staff member, 3 Anonymous (the reason this total number is higher than the total number of reports is because some individuals reported and/or were involved in the same incident)

I wish you all a good and restful weekend.



Dr. María C. Pabón Gautier
Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
Director of the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion