REHS (Updates from Associate Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
Eduardo Olivo uses He, Him, El pronouns and he has been the REHS associate director for DEI since July 2021. Eduardo, an immigrant from Venezuela, has a passion for authenticity, cooking, reading and social justice. Eduardo’s vision is to help REHS become an antiracist department and to help center the voices and multiple lived experiences of those who have been historically excluded.
REHS DEI Highlights – Fall 2021-Spring 2022 (On-going efforts to support student demands)
New Bias incident response initiative – The REHS DEI unit meets with students face-to-face (or virtually) who experience harm within 24 hours to provide support and resources; a process for sharing bias incidents and therefore be accountable to minoritized communities will launch in spring 2022.
New DEI training framework for RAs and ICAs (R.I.D.E.) – RAs and ICAs engage in DEI dialogues monthly under the umbrella of the R.I.D.E. program (Reboot, Interrogate, Dream and Enact).
REHS DEI unit has grown since 2016 from one staff member to now three DEI professionals (including a graduate student).
More REHS Educational Resources for staff members – Monthly DEI slide decks and lesson plans are shared with REHS staff for dialogues to take place around DEI issues.
Intentional advising, mentoring and genuine relationships between REHS and student leaders in minoritized communities – REHS meets regularly with student leaders and student leadership teams with the goal of creating authentic relationships. Examples include Residence Education Community Directors meeting monthly with BSA, the REHS DEI unit meeting student leaders in programs and meetings on a regular basis and REHS Advisors supporting transcend and RHA student leaders on their fight against structural inequities, among others.
New REHS commitment to racial impact analysis using a trauma informed care practices lens – REHS Racial Impact Analysis Team will launch in February 2022; Its goal is to analyze all student conduct policies through racial impact analysis lens. Main outcome is to neutralize manifestations of oppression that are embedded in policies, practices and protocols around student behavior.
Expansion of the Hate Has No Home Here campaign– the Hate Has Has No Home Here graphics and pledge statement have been shared in multiple new student communication and in all our New Student Orientation materials, and students will see this statement throughout the residence halls at move-in. HHNH is also going through a reengineering process that will lead to a more holistic and comprehensive DEI initiative.
Increased representation of minoritized positions in REHS (RA positions and leadership positions) – the RA team continues to become more racially and ethnically diverse (past 3 years) and REHS Leadership Team teams have also become more racially and ethnically representative. HR DEI best practices in recruitment, selection and placement oof staff members at all levels have been embedded in these processes. REHS continues to intentionally incorporate the new SLE HR DEI tool kit as the framework of all their hiring processes.
Overhaul of DEI training for residence hall staff – REHS, in its aspirations of becoming an antiracist, anti-oppression department in SLE, continues to offer workshops, dialogue series (modeled after the MSU Dialogues program) and educational resources on white supremacy, privilege and oppression, antiracism, identity and the issues of the times (in the context of a global pandemic).
A more proactive role of REHS as an institutional DEI partner – REHS works directly with other DEI community partners in panels, conferences and signature MSU DEI programs, with a focus on centering the voices and multiple lived experiences of those communities that have been historically excluded.
Revamped Emergency and Wellness Resource Guide – This resource in its new version provides information on reporting acts of racism and discrimination.
More stringent RA hiring and vetting processes to ensure enhanced DEI skill sets and a higher level of representation – Virtual interviews; interviews spread out over longer periods of time; involved more external partners and student leaders in the interview process; incorporated essays into the process (one question specifically on DEI issues) and the interviewees went through implicit bias training. Specific recruitment, hiring and training for RAs places in LLCs and gender inclusive floors.
Gender Inclusive Housing – the GIH program continues to expand and grow, in collaboration with the GSCC and LBGTQAI+ student groups.
More Gender Inclusive Restrooms – REHS works in collaboration with institutional partners in moving forward the campus wide plan to have gender inclusive restrooms across campus.
New Reflection Rooms in the residence halls – Reflection rooms in each neighborhood have been designated to accommodate prayer and reflection.
New Meeting spaces for BSA and transcend in Shaw Hall – rooms have been renovated to meet the needs of minoritized student communities.
New REHS Dashboard – a new DEI web-based dashboard will launch in Spring 2022 to provide DEI resources with the campus community and provide progress updates on DEI projects and initiatives.
New 2022 Student DEI Activism and Inclusive Leadership Conference – this learning initiative will involve REHS working in collaboration with minoritized student leaders in creating a space for best practices on student leadership and activism will be featured – April 2022.