In an effort to promote a more equitable campus, the Division of Student Affairs has created the new position of Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.
The role was established in accordance with recommendations from the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report.
According to a Nov. 8 press release from the University, the coordinator is responsible for enhancing programs and services that promote diversity of the student population and create an inclusive campus.
The job has been filled by Vanessa Yzaguirre, a Queen’s alum who graduated with a masters degree in Gender Studies in 2016.
Yzaguirre previously worked in the Human Rights Office, where she handled special projects related to diversity and inclusion. In an email to The Journal, she said she took on this new role in part because it gives her the chance to work with students in a more direct way and “build platforms to foster the climate of inclusion.”
Yzaguirre said her priority going into this position is to “bring conversations about identity, diversity and inclusion to the table.”
“Giving more visibility to diversity and inclusivity issues is the most effective way to address them,” she wrote.
In addition to highlighting these issues on campus, Yzaguirre also hopes to see more students and staff members receive training around topics of diversity and inclusion.
The University’s Nov. 8 press release also stated, “Ms. Yzaguirre’s work with students and student groups will inform division-wide programming and services, and help to increase the visibility of the supports that are available across campus and in the community for underrepresented students and student groups.”
“It can be a game changer, in terms of consistency and advocacy, to have a position dedicated to doing [diversity and inclusion] work constantly,” Yzaguirre told The Journal.
Yzaguirre also stated in her email that students on campus should know she’s here to listen. She hopes to bring a new point of view to the dialogue on campus surrounding issues of diversity and inclusion.
“I think it is fundamental for all of us to actually embrace the importance of diversity and inclusion as one of the key elements that enrich our communities,” she wrote. “Queen’s must be a space where every student can feel welcome and appreciated for who they are and what they have to say.”
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