Linda Daniels was named senior director of diversity, pluralism and inclusion this semester. In this role, she will work on programs related to intersectionality and pluralism, in partnership with the Group of Six Centers, the Office of Residential Life and Learning, the Office for Campus Life and a number of other campus offices, according to an email from Communications and Multimedia Specialist Mickey Toogood to the Group of Six Centers.
“I hope to oversee the implementation of campus-wide programming that I envision will help re-shape the campus culture toward a greater embrace of the intersectionality inherent in all Tufts community members,” Daniels told the Daily in an email.
Daniels explained that she will continue to work twice a week at Counseling and Mental Health Services, where she serves as a staff psychologist. Daniels was hired at Tufts in spring 2016 as a clinician and liaison to the Africana Center, according to an April 26, 2016 Daily article.
In her new role, Daniels said that she hopes to create a campus culture in which students can feel comfortable with diversity and intersecting identities.
“My overall goal will be to facilitate the creation of a campus climate where students find overlap in our community, engage in shared exploration of our varied identities and develop [a] holistic sense of awareness, compassion and empathy for each other,” she said.
In particular, Daniels said that she hopes to increase Tufts students’ awareness of intersectionality through a campaign called “Unapologetically Me.” As part of the initiative’s first phase, bulletin boards will be distributed throughout campus that allow students to answer questions based on identity. The intention of this program, according to Daniels, is to help students express themselves and understand their similarities and differences.
“My hope is that such a campaign will result in various ‘brave space’ forums over the upcoming academic years that will foster discussion across identities,” Daniels said. “In this way, students will learn how to develop strong ideological identities during their time at Tufts and, in turn, be better prepared for their future beyond Tufts.”
Daniels will also offer Social Justice Leader Training to resident assistants (RAs), leaders of student organizations and other campus leaders.
“My appreciation of and interest in supporting student leaders will remain,” Daniels said. “It is also my goal to provide this training more widely and inclusively to students, faculty and staff.”
Daniels had been involved in advancing diversity on campus long before she began this new role, according to Dean of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon. McMahon noted that Daniels’ role is particularly important in a political climate where minority students face uncertainties.
“I am deeply grateful to Linda [Daniels] for agreeing to take on this role, and I hope her assistance will enhance our collective focus on the work of the [Group of Six] Centers and commitment to all of our [Arts, Sciences and Engineering] students at this crucial time,” McMahon said.
Interim Chief Diversity Officer Ellen Pinderhughes said that she is looking forward to working with Daniels to support diverse programming on campus. Prior to beginning this role, Daniels was involved in implementing the Equity, Access and Student Equality (EASE) working group at Tufts, according to Pinderhughes.
“EASE is focused on identifying the barriers that students with very limited financial resources face in accessing the range of opportunities for undergraduates and [identifying] existing campus resources that are currently used to address such needs as well as areas where resources are lacking.” Pinderhughes said.
Daniels explained that her previous work at Tufts, both as a staff psychologist and as the chair of the EASE working group, has been “pluralistic in nature.”
“The EASE working group [has] been working fervently to recommend and implement actions that will level the financial playing field for all students, regardless of financial resources, while empowering students to succeed academically,” Daniels said.