The Office of the Vice President for Diversity & Community Affairs (ODCA), headed by Vice President Janice S. Robinson, leads the College’s initiatives on community, diversity, civility, equity and anti-discrimination. Serving students, alumni, full-time and adjunct faculty, and professional and union staff, ODCA encourages the TC community to listen, learn, educate and work together.

During 2016-2017, ODCA addressed national and local social justice issues, responding to the climate beyond TC, through programs and grants that included:

Diversity Programming

Understanding the U.S. Electoral System: From the Campaigns to Election Night. Jeffrey Henig, Professor of Political Science & Education and then-Chair of the Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis, led a conversation (largely tailored for international students) to enhance understanding of current events and social justice movements.

India’s Daughter. A screening of the documentary about a young Delhi woman whose brutal rape and murder focused national attention on gender inequality in India. Sponsored in collaboration with Columbia University’s Sexual Violence Response for April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Voices Heard: Mid-20th Century Activism at HBCUs. The panel on America’s historically black colleges and universities brought together Cally Waite, Associate Professor of History & Education; Bette Weneck, Lecturer and Associate Director of TC’s Center on History and Education; and James Alford Jr. (Ph.D. ’13), Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Professional Studies at William Paterson University.

Neurodiversity Film Festival. This student-led series included screenings and discussions of:

  • Temple Grandin, a biopic about the autism rights pioneer, animal scientist and 2014 TC Convocation speaker and Distinguished Service medalist.
  • Neurotypical and Spectrum: A Story of the Mind, about the amazing talents and contributions of several individuals on the autism spectrum. 
  • Dislecksia: The Movie, a documentary about the lives and accomplishments of famous dyslexic individuals.

Between Left and Right, Who’s Right? A dialogue informed by three diverse positions on immigration, organized by the TC student organization Development in South Asia. 

Teacher as Activist: Bridging the Educational Divide. A discussion between Lisa Delpit, Clark Distinguished Professor of Education at Southern University, and TC’s Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education, of key principles in raising expectations for culturally diverse students in urban schools. 

Examining The Movement: Student Activism & Black Lives Matter in Theory and Practice. Featuring Charles H.F. Davis III, Director of Higher Education Research and Initiatives at the Penn Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education, and activist DeRay Mckesson of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Reflecting its belief that everyone has something to contribute to enhancing the TC community, ODCA sponsored 20 outstanding initiatives and four research projects through its ongoing Vice President’s Grant for Diversity & Community Initiatives and Student Research in Diversity.

Supporting Equity

As part of its ongoing commitment to support efforts addressing gender-based misconduct, ODCA collaborated with Columbia’s Sexual Violence Response office and TC’s Residential Services to provide TC students with a series of educational workshops. Topics included Bystander Intervention, Introduction to Interpersonal Violence in the LGBTQ Community, Having Conversations with/about Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color, and Healthy Relationships. ODCA continued providing outreach opportunities on these issues, as well as for Denim Day (as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month), and workshops on consent for new international students. ODCA also conducted gender-based misconduct training to all student organization leaders as part of certification for their organizations. 

With TC’s Office of Facilities Management, ODCA has ensured that all of the College’s single-occupancy bathrooms are now identified as “All-Gender Restrooms,” with a toilet symbol to comply with New York City law and community needs. Responding to increased demand, the College created a second lactation room in Horace Mann Hall. ODCA worked with Facilities to create a map indicating All-Gender Restrooms and Lactation Rooms.