For two years, the President’s Advisory Board on Inclusion and Diversity (PABID) committee met with students, staff and faculty to discuss issues, develop projects and sponsor events to enhance inclusion and diversity on campus. At the conclusion of this preliminary stage, PABID recommended the creation of a center dedicated to continuing and directing such efforts at USD.
The Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CID) became a reality March 3 with the announcement of the center formation and the naming of co-directors Carlton Floyd and Mayté Pérez-Franco, but much of the real work is still in the building process — literally and figuratively. “Where will the center be located?” is still a frequently asked question.
Space is at a premium on campus and any existing spaces will require some renovation. Floyd and Pérez-Franco (both pictured, at right) are committed to find the best possible location and offer insight into what they envision for the center.
“It needs to have visibility, accessibility, resources, and centrality, and be inviting and welcoming,” Floyd said. “The center needs to reflect a commitment to inclusion and diversity as an intricate part of university life. There needs to be clear evidence that it exists to everyone.”
While awaiting word on CID’s physical location, Floyd and Pérez-Franco continue to work on CID issues, researching solutions and best practices, meeting and listening to all voices on campus. “We are thinking collaboratively and collectively,” Pérez-Franco said. “We want to hear people’s thoughts about what they need so that the center can be productive in a positive way.”
Floyd and Pérez-Franco bring strong professional and personal experience to their roles as CID directors.
Floyd, an assistant English professor since 2000, was named associate provost for inclusion and diversity. His academic focus is African-American literature, mixed race and ethnic studies, identity and community and representations of children and childhood. He is an active participant in USD’s international work in Jamaica.
Pérez-Franco was hired last summer as director of the United Front Multicultural Center. She previously served five years as director of the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center at the University of Connecticut.
— Ryan T. Blystone