June 12, 2019 Meeting Recap

View the meeting slides here: DC 6.12.19

Thank you to those who attended last week’s team meeting and participated in our second conversation of Module 2: Identity and Expression. 

For pre-work, we viewed this webinar, hosted by our our colleagues at The Ohio State University and University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Services, and used our meeting to continue the conversation about how to support our LGBTQ+ colleagues and program participants. In the previous sentence, “colleagues” is intentionally listed before “program participants”. Both are equally and incredibly important, but please take a moment to consider that if the spaces and programs we create are not safe for our adult employees to show up with their full identities, they are even less safe for our program participants, especially youth.

At the start of our meeting, we heard from Dr. Marilyn Lesmeister, Associate Professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Volunteer Development & Risk Management specialist, and now interim 4-H Program Leader, who shared a newly created document that addresses some of the frequently asked questions around this topic: 4-H Practices for Inclusion of All Individuals of All Gender Identities, Gender Expressions, Sexual Orientations, and Sexes. This document provides helpful youth programming information, from general definitions to guidance around dress codes and sleeping arrangements. It is in the final stages of review before it will be shared with the 4-H Program and larger OSU community. You have a received an emailed copy of the draft and are invited to share any thoughts or feedback with Dr. Lesmeister.

Taking inspiration from the document mentioned above and the pre-work webinar, the rest of our conversation covered topics such as dress codes at camps and in schools, gender binary stereotypes and the importance of using pronouns to help affirm different identities. We appreciated a faculty member’s comment (and the resulting conversation) about the need for dress codes to be directly connected to a safety issue (i.e. Close-toed shoes only in a lab setting), rather than a socially constructed gender stereotype (i.e. A girl’s only option for formal attire at camp being a dress or skirt).

Regarding pronouns, we talked about the somewhat recent movement to include pronouns in email signatures or as part of a verbal introduction, and shared different ways we have done this or seen it done. It was wonderful to hear many of us with dominant identities, such as cis-gender, realize aloud that by noting our pronouns, we are not only identifying ourselves, but training others not to make assumptions and normalizing the practice of letting people self-identify (and most importantly, respecting self identification). If you could not attend the meeting, please take a few minutes to talk to an office mate or fellow Diversity Champion about the webinar and ideas shared above. Please also keep in mind that these meeting recaps are a short snippet of a rich and deep conversation. The greatest benefit of our month meetings is the practice of engaging with each other around, often challenging, topics of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Summer break: Our next team Zoom meeting will be September 11 (calendar invite coming soon), but please keep an eye out for a small amount of pre-work in July and August. During these next two months, our office will be conducting the County Civil Rights reviews in our South and East regions, so we may see some of you in that capacity!

If you have signed up for the June 26: Navigating Bias event, we will see you next week! Otherwise, do not hesitate to reach out at any time with your questions or comments.

In partnership,
Your DEI Team

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