We are incredibly excited to announce that the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education & LGBTQ+ Resources is now the Center for Culture, Equity, and Empowerment! This change in direction helps us better reflect the populations we serve and missions we hold as a department.
Why the name change?
The diversity portfolio was growing in University Life and we knew an organizational re-shaping was necessary. We wanted to be clear in centering the student experience. Our department centers the student experience through cultural-celebrations, ally-ship and identity development, and culturally-specific leadership development. While, confronting bias and diversity education are important aspects of equity work, we were learning student needs were greater than our current capacity and organizational structure.
As we continue to move the needle towards inclusive excellence, we are working hard towards creating equitable access to resources for all students. Celebrating students’ cultural heritages is also a vital aspect of our work, and we felt strongly it should have representation in our name. Engaging in cultural equity enables us to make space for people to see the multitude of cultural heritages across campus. Working alongside and in community with students, our goal is to continue to improve their quality of life and experiences. A major aspect of social empowerment is working within communities, doing one’s own self-work in understanding identity and privilege, and then utilizing aspects of privilege to create change. Self-efficacy and the ability to realize ones’ own cultural wealth is directly tied to student success and empowerment.
What else has changed?
Along with our name, we updated our office’s structure to include 3 service areas:
- Student Access and Equity (SAE): Supports campus and student engagement for students who are historically underrepresented in higher education and their allies while specifically centering college students who identify as first generation and students, students who are undocumented, and students who are protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or hold Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
- Student Engagement for Racial Justice (SERJ): Supports and serves communities of color who have been historically marginalized in higher education. SERJ is charged with raising awareness and visibility of racial and ethnic identity through educational programs, cultural celebration and ceremonies, and promoting equitable practices in the university setting.
- LGBTQ+ Resources: Support to LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff; including advising, advocacy, referral, education and training, group and workshop facilitation, and leadership development.
These areas serve as resources to those in the Mason Community who seek to meaningfully engage and interact with people of different identities and intersections to co-create an equitable campus environment.
Stating October 5th, you’ll start to see changes to our identity system, website, and social media profiles.