The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion underwent a multi-department reorganization on Sept. 1 to unify advocacy for underrepresented students.
In spring of 2022, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion—known as ODEI—began the process of reorganizing centers to achieve a new sense of unity. The AccessAbility Resource Center was moved into ODEI and the Student Equity Initiatives and Equity Policy Education departments were created as part of the reorganization. As well, programs previously part of the ODEI’s Community Engagement department have been moved to the Multicultural Center. ODEI Communications Manager Alexandra Pirkle said ODEI departments received remodeled websites as part of the unification of the departments under ODEI.
“This is a reorganization and an expansion of the office,” said Pirkle. “We’re looking at how we could best align our resources, our talent, to align with the [University] strategic plan and best serve students and employees on this campus from the perspective of ODEI.”
Raul Hinojosa, the new Asssistant Vice-President for Equity Policy, Education and Administration, said that the reorganization hasn’t been all smooth sailing.
“I’ll admit that one of the challenges with our transition has been that we’re a little short staffed,” Hinojosa said. “We’ve had people leave, and we have new positions that need to be filled as we expand.”
Offices are undergoing transitions that initially interrupted department function in the 2022 summer semester, which had some students worried that the consequences would ripple into the fall semester. However, ODEI is looking for infrastructure solutions to make amends before the spring and make up for lost time.
“We’ve had multiple people from the Multicultural Center come and talk to us about collaboration … ” said Crystal Garcia, President of the Association of Latin American Students. “They’ll just talk about how we can tell people what resources are available for them, and that if they need help, they can go to them for information. They’re trying to be there for us this semester.”
Hinojosa said ODEI will take a community approach to maintaining representation while investigating any internal issues caused by the transition.
“We are open,” Hinojosa said. “We’re not sure what students were asking, or what they found out from us, but I think it’s important to know that we’re here to serve students, faculty, and staff as we look into this. We’re open to ideas and suggestions, and as the dust is settling a little bit from our changes and moves and our reorganizations, we’re very open to our campus collaborators and departments.”