Recently, Dean Berger-Sweeney of the School of Arts and Sciences announced the launch of a new Office of Intercultural and Social Identities Programs (ISIP). Headed by Katrina Moore, who also serves as director of the Africana Center, ISIP works to ensure the inclusion and equal participation of all students within the Tufts community – particularly those with historically marginalized identities – and to recognize and serve the spectrum of backgrounds and experiences of Tufts students.
“Through the lens of social justice education, ISIP will engage all Tufts students in an exploration of individual and group social identities,” said Moore. “We will also help students examine the intersection of identity with systems of power, privilege, and oppression and support an understanding of individual and group efforts impacting Tufts campus and beyond. Simply put, this office will provide opportunities for students to think about who they are, where they come from, and how their identities such as gender, race, and class impact our lives on a daily basis.”
Collaborating closely with relevant departments and centers throughout the university, ISIP will create initiatives to ensure that bias of any form does not undermine students’ academic, personal, or professional development as a member of the Tufts community.
“Along with the current work of the Group of Six Centers – Africana, Asian American, International, Latino, LGBT and Women’s Center – ISIP will increase student and administrative conversations regarding equity and inclusion and will reduce barriers for students reporting issues of concern or discrimination,” Moore explained. “We see this as a first step in knowing that our work is having an impact at all levels of the Tufts community.”
Additionally, ISIP and the Group of Six will collaborate on campus policy and procedures that affect student retention, inclusion, and equal participation.
“On a campus level, we aim to see a shift in campus climate among students,” said Moore. “We’d like to move from an environment which equates inclusion and equal participation with political correctness to one that recognizes the historical and systematic marginalization and privileging of peoples based on the construction of social identities within the U.S.”
Several Tisch Scholars were among those showing their support at the National Coming Out Day rally
The new program will help strengthen initiatives across campus, such as the recent celebration of National Coming Out Day.
Led by the LGBT Center, students and departments across campus displayed rainbow pride flags, showing support and solidarity for a safe campus for all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification. A rally, held on the campus center patio, attracted dozens of students and faculty.
Video by Gene Buonaccorsi, A13.
Originally published November 2011