From the Desk of the Chief Diversity Officer

I am pleased to present the second issue of The Black Mirror. I received many positive comments on the first issue and our readership is growing with more people asking to be added to the mailing list. Our readers seemed to have enjoyed knowing about the good work of many in our community and appreciated the incorporation of different voices in the newsletter.

I am happy to continue the same presentation style in this second issue but open to the idea of it growing in directions that meets the different needs of our members.

As MIIS continues to grapple with the question of how to make the campus more equitable, I take it upon myself to highlight the issues that I think are mostly missing in our collective conscious. One of the most recent issues concerns the kinds of resources we have and could have to respond to mental health needs on campus. From an inclusion perspective, it seems like we have a lot to do as a community to build awareness and develop tools to respond to challenges that some of us cannot even identify when it stares us in the face. This issue is one of my top priorities now.  I would like to hear your concerns and suggestions for what we can do on our campus.

Through this newsletter, you will note that this semester (Fall 2018) we have had many excellent events on our campus that challenge structures of power and privilege. While all of this is laudatory, I am struck by some of the comments in the poverty appropriation poll that reflect so little on the power and privilege that each one of us carries. The responses to the survey show the contrast between being concerned and committed to the ideas of diversity, equity, and inclusion while being unaware of the implications of one’s own privilege in society. This challenge is common and one that afflicts many: we characterize discrimination and marginalization as what others do but forget that work needs to begin by questioning ourselves and challenging our privilege. I sincerely hope that the newsletter will prove as thought-provoking as I want it to be and more, and I thank you all for staying engaged.

As always, I welcome your ideas, opinions, and suggestions as we work together to make the campus more equitable. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Pushpa Iyer