Yellow House welcomes experienced equity mentor to oversee operational activities

Deanna Fialho intends to prioritize accessible resources and safe spaces for racialized students

The Centre for Student Equity and Inclusion, referred to as Yellow House, announced a new director.

Amid a series of student groups demanding anti-racism action from the University, the Centre for Student Equity and Inclusion has appointed Deanna Fialho as its new director.

“[Fialho] comes to Queen’s with extensive experience and expertise,” wrote Corinna Fitzgerald, assistant dean of student life and learning in student affairs, in a statement to The Journal.

Fialho, a sociology alumna from Carleton who possesses a Master of Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Toronto, has worked to implement large-scale equity and inclusion programs at several large corporations across Canada. She also has experience in supporting student success through engagement and peer mentorship programs which brought local communities and the private sector together.

“Her work is rooted in a strong passion and human-centered approach to equity that fosters a sense of belonging for all,” Fitzgerald wrote.

READ MORE: Yellow House opens its doors

Fitzgerald said this appointment followed a linear selection procedure in which the university equity hiring process was followed, with the specific processes including long and shortlisting of candidates, interviews, and a presentation to community members.

The hiring panel included Fitzgerald as Chair; Alana Butler, assistant professor in the Faculty of Education and co-chair of the University Committee on Anti-Racism and Equity; and Kandice Baptiste, director of Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre.

The panel also included Bunisha Samuels, the 2019 AMS social issues commissioner and African Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) president; Angela Sahi, the current AMS social issues commissioner; Lavie Williams, human rights advisor in the Human Rights and Equity Office; and Heather Kennedy from the Human Resources Department.

Fitzgerald said the panel also included several additional UCARE members and representatives from Levana Gender Advocacy, ACSA, Queen’s Black Academic Society, Queen’s University Muslim Students Association, as well as campus partners from the Provost’s Office, the Human Rights and Equity Office, and other Student Affairs units.

Regarding Fialho’s appointment as director, Fitzgerald said her priorities for short and long-term goal development focus on student support and engagement.

“[Our top priority is] creating safer spaces for racialized and equity seeking students and student clubs, providing opportunities to enhance EDI acumen through co-curricular education and resources for all students, as well as creating a physical and virtual hub for EDI resources on campus,” Fitzgerald wrote. 

“Deanna will focus on these, in collaboration with Student Clubs within the Centre for Student Equity and Inclusion, to bring it to life this year.”

She also acknowledged the context of current affairs, particularly regarding supports for QTBIPOC students, pointing to several online resources, additional individual and group counselling and wellness programming, and human rights advisory services and equity services readily available.

“The University, in partnership with the AMS, is also developing new supports to assist student clubs with activity planning during a pandemic,” Fitzgerald wrote.

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