Bring the Office of Diversity and Inclusiveness & Dr. Hines-Gaither Back to Salem College!
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Starting the 2016 - 2017 school year, the Office of Diversity and Inclusiveness was founded with the purpose of committing itself to building an inclusive campus community. This Office also strived to work collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, and administrators to cultivate a climate of awareness, understanding, respect, and inclusiveness for all individuals and groups.
After only one year of this Office and the position of Director of Diversity and Inclusiveness being on campus, these two were eliminated and currently no longer exist.
Dr. Hines-Gaither was appointed as the first Director of Diversity and Inclusiveness of the freshly founded Office of Diversity and Inclusiveness. As the new Director of this office, she fostered multiple programs, events, and "safe spaces" on campus.
During the beginning of the school year, she singlehandedly held Diversity Training workshops which focused on understanding and respecting people from different walks of life, for students, faculty, and alumni. This was a precedent at the college and gave the Salem community a chance to learn and understand one another. She has also acted as the academic advisor for Black Americans Demonstrating Unity (B.A.D.U.) since 2008 and has remained in that role for the past eight years. Dr. Hines-Gaither also ran the Office of Diversity and Inclusiveness and focused on organizing meetings to discuss with the administration issues involving campus climate and student issues. In fact, she acted as a liaison between the student body and the administration which allowed for many students to feel as if they finally had a voice on campus. She also created RoundTable Wednesdays, a safe space where students could share things that were on their mind, and held these consistently for an hour every Wednesday. This allowed for students to share their feelings, release pent up frustration, vent about their lives, and also receive love and validation.
Dr. Hines-Gaither has been a mentor, friend and listener to every student on Salem's campus. She has helped incorporate and cultivate an environment of love, understanding, respect, and inclusiveness for all groups and people. She has listened to students, displayed nothing but love and can best be described as acting as a "home away from home". Whether it's inviting students to eat lunch with her, giving hugs, knowing us by our names, speaking in our native tongue (she is fluent in English, Spanish and French), or simply listening to students when they felt as if no one else would, Dr. Hines-Gaither has done a phenomenal job as the Director of Diversity and Inclusiveness and has become a backbone for the Salem community.
Please sign to bring the Office of Diversity & Inclusiveness back! As well as, Dr. Hines-Gaither back as the Director of Diversity and Inclusiveness! The Salem College community, alumni, and students will thank you!
Below are some anecdotes and testimonies from the Salem College community:
"Dr. Hines-Gaither is the epitomy of what it means to be in true community. As a black trans student, she has taught me to love myself and she has helped me to trust other people. Her office provided me with the confidence to fight for Salem College's first LGBTQIA+ Peer Support Group. She has helped to form me into the social change agent that I always want to be. Now, as I leave Salem, I remember that I am never alone. Someone is always watching and someone is always there." - Alexx A., '17
"Dr. Hines-Gaither has not only been an inspiration for me, but for many people on Salem's campus. It truly is disheartening to see Salem try and resolve tension on campus by illuminating the one faculty member that many students say they trust. She has been a source of inspiration and hope for many students going through difficult times. My story is unique and I have been through a lot during my time at Salem. When I first decided I wanted to go to Salem, the only reason my mom agreed was because she knew Salem would be my home for the next four years. My mom knew that she was going to die, while I was still in college so she wanted to make sure that I had a home away from home. However, this year, I was placed in Fogle Flats 308 which was one of the dorms infested with termites. In addition, to my extreme mental health issues that have incurred over the last year and a half due to my mom's passing, I've also had many financial struggles as well. To see Salem come together as a student body with the support and love of Dr. Hines-Gaither, I felt hopeful that many of the reasons my mom felt safe sending me to Salem College, could finally be a reality. However, with this recent action of Salem administration deciding to fire Dr. Hines-Gaither and how this was done with seemingly no foundation and no explanation, it has done nothing but perpetuate this division of trust between Salem Administration and its student body. I am truly disappointed and am questioning my decision at this point about whether or not I will continue to stay at Salem College." - Claire S., '18
"Dr. Hines-Gaither's role as the Director of the office of Diversity and Inclusiveness has been greatly beneficial for students from all walks of life. The programming she created has given me and many others a place of comfort, a place we can share our concerns without fear, a place to belong. In a time with so much turmoil and chaos on campus and in our society at large, we need her in that role to give voice to the voiceless and support to the weak." - Nicole H., '19
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