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Introducing a new feature: “Ask the DAs”

Hello, and welcome to a new feature of the Collegian opinions section: the Diversity Advocates’ column. The Diversity Advocates (DAs) of Kenyon College will author a biweekly column to spread awareness of diversity issues and answer diversity-related questions — anonymous ones included — prompted by events both on and off campus.

The Kenyon DAs, formerly known as the Discrimination Advisors, are a group that originally formed with help from the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI). We serve as informal advisors for students facing discrimination, advocates for diversity awareness on campus and liaisons between the student body and Kenyon administration for communication about discrimination and diversity issues. We advocate for issues surrounding — but not limited to — race, color, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sex, gender identity/expression, ability, sexual orientation, mental health, citizenship, religion and socioeconomic status.

With this column, we hope to serve as a more active educational resource and presence for the Kenyon community. Specifically, we are going to use this column as a “Question Box” to answer questions about diversity issues both at Kenyon and off campus. To submit to the Question Box, you can either reach out to the DA email (discrimination.advisors@kenyon.edu) or fill out a Google Form that we will be emailing out biweekly. We will answer questions of every type and consideration. We will try to answer thoroughly every question to the best of our abilities. We will also occasionally include information about both our own events on campus and events off campus pertaining to diversity issues.

One of the returning DA events we will host this year are “Storytimes” which occur every other Friday at 4:15 p.m. in Peirce Lounge. These events feature a nominated Kenyon community member who will speak on their life and struggles. A question and answer session with audience members follows.

Another one of our major events is a DA “Speakout Week” in the spring where we will host a series of film screenings, invite speakers to conduct workshops and feature activist artists in performing their work. One such artist that came in spring 2016 was Elizabeth Acevedo, a National Slam Champion and Afro-Latina poet. In short, there are a lot of events happening this year. I encourage you to stay tuned and support your DA peers in making Kenyon a more inclusive space!

Sabrina Serrano ’18 is a neuroscience major from Tustin, Calif. You can contact her at serranos@kenyon.edu.

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