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On Purpose: Portrait of CLA's Staff of Color Community

August 16, 2018
To commemorate our 150th anniversary in 2018, the College of Liberal Arts commissioned 60 photographs taken by Xavier Tavera. Departments and programs partnered with Tavera to envision their images and to write the narratives that accompany each photograph. View On Purpose: Portrait of the Liberal Arts.

Five staff members gather in a board room facing the camera.
Pictured L to R Laura Dawis, Eman Ausman, Hongna Bystrom, Tola Ou-Quinlan, Rochelle M. Emmel

We want to help advance the college’s goal of cultivating a welcoming and respectful climate in its diverse intellectual community. Through a grassroots effort, we initiated the CLA Staff of Color Community (CLA-SCC). In so doing, we strive to make CLA a destination college not only for students and faculty, but also for staff of color.

We’ve worked on this concept for some time and feel that this initiative aligns well with CLA’s Roadmap. Most importantly, this initiative is close to our hearts because as people of color ourselves, we understand the need to feel that we belong to a community that shares our experiences and perspectives in the workplace. 

With that vision, CLA-SCC was created to: 

  • develop ways for CLA staff of color to promote and build trust, teamwork, and pride among themselves; 
  • create an environment that provides a sense of belonging and community through shared cultural backgrounds and experiences; 
  • provide support for navigating University systems, leading to advancement at the University. 

Needless to say, this initiative resonated within the college.

 CLA-SCC kicked off in December 2017 and is currently 96 members strong with staff from throughout the college.