DEI Kickoff Week 2021

DEI Kickoff Week 2021

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DEI Kickoff Week Schedule

Tuesday, Sept. 7

Be a Better Buckeye: Eliminating Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct
12-1 p.m.
Facilitator: Molly Peirano (she/her), Director of Education and Engagement, Office of Institutional Equity

Promoting the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is Ohio State’s top priority and a responsibility we all share. We invite you to join the Office of Institutional Equity to discuss how we can cultivate a community where everyone strives to be a better Buckeye and treat one another with dignity and respect. In this session, we will discuss your rights, how to be an upstander to help your fellow Buckeyes, your reporting options/obligations, and some of the support resources available to you when discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct has occurred.

Molly Peirano photo
Molly Peirano (she/her)

Advocate! For You and Me
3-4:30 p.m.
Facilitator: Z (Lena) Tenney, M.Ed. MPA (they/them), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, College of Pharmacy

Have you ever encountered moments in which you felt the need to speak up about something but were unsure if and how you should do so? This session will invite participants to think through foundational considerations in advocacy for self and others, including self-awareness of emotional barriers, situational contexts, and strengths as a communicator. We will then build research-informed and strategi individual actionable skills for effective communication in moments when –isms and –phobias manifest in learning and working spaces. The event will broadly address a variety of forms of microaggressions and will kick off an academic year of monthly sessions in which we gather to focus on specific identities and how we can be advocates for self and other with regards to that particular social justice topic.

Z (Lena) Tenney photo
Z (Lena) Tenney, M.Ed. MPA (they/them)

Wednesday, Sept. 8

The Model Minority Myth: Understanding Anti-Asian Racism and Representation in STEM
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Online via Zoom
Facilitator: Sophia Antoun, MA (she/her), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Education Program Specialist: Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Join Sophia Antoun, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Education Specialist at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for a discussion of the “Model Minority” myth’s historical roots in white supremacy and its connection to Asian/APIDA representation in STEM.

Sophia Antoun photo
Sophia Antoun, MA (she/her)

Bi Identities: Navigating the In-Between
3:30-5 p.m.
107 Parks Hall
Facilitator: Shelby Dawkins, MHA (she/her), Program Manager for LGBTQ Community, The James Center for Cancer Health Equity

This talk will share a brief introduction to the evolving array of bisexual identities; how individuals within this community can engage their healthcare; the need for being open and honest with care providers; and, finally, care provider assumptions and how providers can do better when engaging this community.

Shelby Dawkins photo
Shelby Dawkins, MHA (she/her)

Thursday, Sept. 9

Racial Trauma: Understanding and Dismantling the Psychological and Physiological Effects of Racism in America – Keynote Address
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Facilitator: Dr. LaVonya Bennett (she/her)

Dr. LaVonya Bennett is a counseling psychologist whose areas of research center intersectionality, identity, and trauma/anxiety among marginalized and oppressed communities. Clinically, Dr. Bennett’s areas of emphasis include affirmative therapies for LGBTQ+ individuals, interventions for race-based traumatic stress, anxiety, and trauma. Dr. Bennett’s dedication to dismantling systems of oppression is evidenced in her community activism, research, clinical expertise, and countless awards focused on deconstructing the effects of disenfranchisement of minoritized communities.

Race-based traumatic stress is a specific form of trauma with well-documented effects on the mental health of People of Color. In fact, research has drawn parallels between the experiences of soldiers returning from war with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color who live in systemically racist societies. This talk will describe the intricacies of racial trauma, identify how it may present across various communities of color, and explore strategies for navigating the symptomology of racial trauma.

The last 15-30 minutes of this event will be reserved for questions and answers with the facilitator, who is an expert psychologist, advocate, and facilitator with extensive experience in higher education, anti-racism, and trauma among other topics.

Dr. LaVonya Bennett (she/her)
Dr. LaVonya Bennett (she/her)

1-1:45 p.m.
250 Parks Hall
Facilitators: Steven Nagel, Stephenie Stein, Ross Tamburo

This session will serve as an introduction to the basics of accessibility including information around disabilities, key concepts and terminology around accessibility and reminders about upcoming accessibility skills training for both college faculty and staff. After the session you will come away knowing about how accessibility applies to your own work at the college and future learning opportunities around accessibility topics.

Teaching in Difficult Times
3:30-4:45 p.m. 
107 Parks Hall 

Facilitators: Dr. Shed Silliman (she/they), Instructional Consultant, Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Eric Brinkman (he/they), Instructional Consultant, Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning

Our communities are grappling with crises such as the pandemic, racial injustice and political conflict, meaning that students are likely to be struggling with them as well. These broader cultural issues are bound to have an impact on our classes, and instructors are in a unique position to support students through these events and equip them with the tools and resources they need. However, many instructors may feel unprepared to productively engage these topics with students. This session aims to empower instructors with the confidence and resources to teach in a way that incorporates and acknowledges, rather than ignores, these cultural events and their impact. Participants will acknowledge the ramifications of these cultural events, discuss the challenges they find in addressing them in class, and explore strategies which support student learning and success in difficult times.

Shed Silliman & Eric Brinkman
Dr. Shed Silliman (she/they) & Dr. Eric Brinkman (he/they)

Friday, Sept. 10

AdvocATE! DEI Week Lunch
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Women’s Fieldhouse/Patio & Turf Field (250 Parks Hall if raining)

Celebrate the kickoff of the academic year—one dedicated to continuous DEI efforts—by joining in casual and fun community with your fellow students, faculty, and staff! Meet new and greet old friends while participating in lawn games (weather permitting), meeting at tables dedicated to a variety of interests in the DEI sphere, and sharing takeaways from the week’s events. All are invited to wear culturally significant attire for an informal sharing of fashion and its associated meanings in the spirit of the college’s annual tradition of a cultural fashion show. Free lunch will be provided as individually wrapped items.

Privilege Puzzle
3:30-4:30 p.m.
105 Biomedical Research Tower
Facilitator: Nick Gilbert (he/him), Social Justice Engagement Specialist, Student Life Multicultural Center

Through a highly interactive experience, this workshop helps answer the question of “what exactly is privilege and why should we care?” In this workshop, participants will gain a greater understanding of privilege, how systemic oppression affects us all and a new way of perceiving the world around them.

Nick Gilbert
Nick Gilbert (he/him)

Virtual events will be presented with automated closed captions. If you have questions about automated captions or wish to request an accommodation, please contact Z Tenney at Requests made by August 30, 2021, will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date.

Upcoming Events


Student Mental Health Resources

Office of Diversity and Inclusion Embedded Therapist -

Counseling and Consultation Services -

Ohio State Votes

Nonpartisan voter registration - (


The university's Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) was created to coordinate the university's response to all complaints of harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct. To learn more about your rights to be free from harassment and discrimination, to get assistance connecting with support resources, or to file a report, please contact OIE at:

Online – report form at

Call – 614-247-5838


You can also report concerns anonymously through EthicsPoint (

Members of The Ohio State community have the right to be free from all forms of harassment and discrimination based on age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or protected veteran status.

Additional educational resources

Each year, the college hosts a Diversity Week to promote celebration, education and awareness of the unique visible and non-visible differences in our college community.  The theme for both for this week’s events and the entire academic year is ‘Advocate! For You and Me'.

This week also allows our college to come together as students, faculty, staff and alumni to examine health care disparities and advocate for appropriate culturally sensitive care.