University of North Carolina | Courtesy Photo

Cal Poly will bring Kimberly McLaughlin-Smith to consult campus on how to increase diversity and inclusivity May 3 and 4, as announced in an April 30 campuswide email from Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Jozi De Leon.

McLaughlin-Smith is the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist at the University of North Carolina (UNC), which is a campus with a predominantly white student body, according to the UNC website.  There, she holds diversity discussions among staff members and is invited by professors to visit to contribute to student discussions in classes.  

De Leon said she thought of McLaughlin-Smith for this consulting position after previously working with her on a diversity initiative.

“I was intrigued with her style of being able to deconstruct certain situations, understand, bring a greater clarity in discussions that were very difficult and painful for people,” De Leon said.

McLaughlin-Smith will come to Cal Poly to meet with the President’s Leadership Council and have a special meetings with students. While meetings with administration are closed, the student mixer at the Multi-Activity Center May 3 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the Baker Forum on May 4 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. are open to everyone.

McLaughlin-Smith will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Baker Forum, which focuses on “social and economic roles and responsibilities of polytechnic and science and technology universities,” according to the Cal Poly website. This year, McLaughlin-Smith will speak for about 30 minutes regarding the state of diversity in the nation and the university, then a panel discussion will follow.

According to the campuswide email, the university has particular goals in mind. These goals focus on owning up to our biases, learning about what is missing from our campus, practicing the things we are trying to teach and applying, “the collective desires to include on the path to facilitate steps forward”.

After speaking members of the campus community, McLaughlin-Smith will share her insights with administration and students on how to change the campus climate. Once she leaves Cal Poly, however, McLaughlin-Smith will continue to spend the next six months in conversations with De Leon on the next steps.

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