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Office of Diversity & Equity Increases its scope

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Two KU icons: the bronze Jayhawk statue and Strong Hall, home of KU administrationLAWRENCE — The Office of Diversity & Equity at the University of Kansas is expanding its focus.

Following considerable introspection and review, Diversity & Equity is realigning and incorporating a major campus presence as a new office. The Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity, previously a program coordinated through the Student Involvement & Leadership Center and funded through student fees, will now report through Diversity & Equity. 

The move reflects the greater role and efforts the SGD plays on campus, providing outreach, information and support beyond the student population.

“The SGD office and the staff are an invaluable resource to many in our university community. The reorganization enhances the strengths of our student resources,” said Jennifer Hamer, vice provost for diversity & equity. “This change merely reflects the true reach of the center’s programming and deliberately acknowledges its impact through staffing and resource commitment by central administration.”

The changes in Diversity & Equity also include reconfiguration into two divisions that guide campus activities and efforts:

  • Inclusive Engagement, Education & Learning, and
  • Policies, Protocols & Assessment.

The Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the SGD are part of the new Inclusive Engagement, Education & Learning division. Precious Porras, director of OMA, will also take on leadership responsibilities for this group. Both SGD and the Emily Taylor Center are still separate from the Office of Multicultural Affairs. All the offices are working collaboratively and intersectionally, but each entity will still develop and maintain its own core mission.

“This configuration will facilitate the ability of our identity-based offices to work collaboratively to enhance their respective missions and budgets,” Hamer said. “It will also create and offer programming and resources that more strategically support the multidimensionality of student experiences.”

Vanessa Delgado, assistant director of the Student Involvement & Leadership Center and coordinator for SGD, will soon head over to the KU Edwards Campus as an education program coordinator to broaden work for and about the LGBTQ community there as well as take on additional programming and student success and support services initiatives. Remaining SGD staff will move to office space in the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center, and Saida Bonifield in the Office of Diversity & Equity will serve as interim director of SGD. The newly opened Sexuality & Gender Diversity Center space will remain in the Kansas Memorial Union.

The Policies, Protocols & Assessment division will focus on comprehensive institutional leadership, collaboration and guidance for conceptualizing, planning and actions that develop and maintain more equitable and inclusive institutional environment that more wholly integrates representation, equity and inclusion in learning, working, living and social spaces at KU.

Other Diversity & Equity changes include an expanded role for Bonifield, who had been program manager in the Office of Diversity & Equity. Bonifield, in addition to serving as the interim director of the SGD center, is now director of strategic initiatives, policies and special programs. 

“I and many others who draw upon the services of OMA, SGD and the Emily Taylor Center are excited about these changes and what we hope to accomplish. We have a great team doing really important work,” Hamer said. 

In the meantime, the campus is invited to ongoing programming and activities, including the grand opening of the new SGD center at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, in the Kansas Union.

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