St. Olaf College | News

Equity and Inclusion Update

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

This week I had a chance to talk to a young professional who is doing DEIA work. We talked about how we used a similar method, but named it different, so at the end of the day we could still feel whole and do the hardest parts of the work. She called it focusing her energy and I called it focusing my love. Each method allowed us to hold both the pain and joy. It allowed us to reclaim ownership of spaces, roles, and power. We realized that many times we learned by trial and error, on our own, and shifted when we needed. Our conversation reminded me of a poem by Lucille Clifton titled “Won’t You Celebrate With Me.” I encourage you to read the poem and reflect on your bridge between “starshine and clay.”

won’t you celebrate with me

By: Lucille Clifton

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Derek Chauvin Trial Resources
The Derek Chauvin Trial began this week. I have been following the trial but have to remind myself to take breaks and hold on to the community around me. The trial adds salt to wounds that for many have not even started to heal. I encourage our students, staff, and faculty to find time to care for yourself and each other. Take every opportunity to hold on to the small things that add joy to your life. Hold on to your community.

Understanding the Derek Chauvin Trial. Last week attorneys Barry Cattadoris and Carl Crosby Lehmann discussed the legal process and what to expect in the weeks to come. You can watch the recording here.

We are constantly adding new information to our Derek Chauvin Trial Resources page, including conversation spaces, community care, self-care, healing, and opportunities to learn and understand the different components of the trial. To submit additional events/activities/resources, email

Co-Creating an Inclusive Community Initiative
Here we go! Last week a total of 55 students, staff, and faculty participated in training so that they can serve as facilitators for our upcoming Co-Creating sessions. This week we started scheduling the Co-Creating sessions across all students, staff, and faculty. To help you get ready for the Co-Creating Sessions, we are providing college-wide diversity data and information from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment. Click here to access it. Students, in order to make sure that you have an opportunity to participate in a Co-Creating session whether you are part of a student organization or not, we are offering two stand alone Co-Creating sessions. The sessions are on April 29 at 4 PM and on May 5 at 4 PM. Please register here.

Good News
St. Olaf College has been named a First-Gen Forward institution, a designation that recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes for first-generation college students. Shout out to Jessica Cameron in the Taylor Center and Brian Greening in TRIO Student Support Services for working on the proposal. And a shout out to all who work with first-generation students and support their success.

Bias Report Update

Total Reports


Connected with the Reporting Party via email or conversation

Restorative Justice Process







*Reports are from August 2020 to March 2021
**Reporting Parties: 34 students, 1 staff member, 3 Anonymous,1 Faculty (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)

Policy Reminders
As we work to better educate the campus community about the college’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, And Related Misconduct and related policies, I will highlight a few pieces of important information each month.

Required Referrals
Non-confidential employees, including student employees, are required to refer any incident of bias or sexual misconduct they become aware of to the college. They may use our online reporting forms to make referrals or reach out directly to Director of Title IX and Equal Opportunity Kari Hohn. Required referrals are important so that incidents of bias, harassment, and discrimination are appropriately addressed.

Policy on Postings
The college has a Policy on Postings, and it’s important for community members to be aware that violating this policy can be a bias incident. Each year the Bias Response Team fields reports resulting from violations of the posting policy. The policy notes, in part, that:

  • Posters should not include images or statements that are obscene, profane, threatening, libelous, unlawfully harassing or discriminatory, or otherwise a violation of law or college policy.
  • All members of the St. Olaf community are expected to respect signs/posters/flyers and the people who put them up.
    • Do not tear down signs for current events.
    • Do not deface signs/posters/flyers in any way.
    • Do not intentionally cover up signs/posters/flyers.
    • Questions about or objections to the content of signs/posters/flyers should be directed to the Dean of Students Office.

Opportunities for Development on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism
Have you checked out the wonderful resources for development offered by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest? Here is a list of the workshops they have offered so far, and you can access the recordings here:

  • Charting the “How”: Coalition Building and Policy Change in the Age of Anti-racism
  • Taking the Measure of our Gatherings: Identifying points of access and exile, and creating belonging in our spaces
  • Inclusive Discourse – Free Speech & Disagreement
  • “1 Angry Black Man” Film Discussion with Writer/Director Menelek Lumumba
  • Creating Effective Systems of Support for Historically Marginalized Students
  • Culturally Responsive STUDENT Mentorship
  • Culturally Responsive FACULTY Mentorship
  • Decolonizing Pedagogies: Decentering Whiteness as Method

Another opportunity has been put together by Academics for Black Survival and Wellness. Dr. Della V. Mosley, a co-founder of A4BL, will be giving a TEDxUF talk titled “Moving from ‘Woke’ to Working for Black Futures” on Sunday, April 11, 2021, between 12–2:30 p.m. (she is the second to last talk).The event is free and virtual. Register here.



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