It’s colorful, expansive, welcoming and open to all members of the Harvey Mudd community. The Office of Institutional Diversity (OID), the social justice education hub of campus, has grown from a small, one-room space (established in 2004) to a user-friendly, four-room retreat. Thanks in part to student members of BLAM (Black Lives at Mudd)—HMC’s 2016 Outstanding Student Organization—the new space became a reality. Last spring, BLAM made the case for a space that would help increase inclusivity and improve campus climate. President Maria Klawe provided funds to transform the north area of Platt Campus Center into new and improved OID offices. After moving to the expanded space in January, OID was able to increase its programming, hold more intimate conversations with students and have a larger presence on campus. The intentionally vibrant walls speak to the spirit of OID: celebratory, fostering awareness, allyship and action.
Vibrant also describes Sumi Pendakur, the College’s award-winning, energetic chief diversity officer who oversees campus-wide efforts related to access, equity, campus climate and inclusion. A member of the president’s cabinet, she also provides diversity training and advises academic departments and search teams about embedding equity and diversity.
There’s a little bit of everything in the movie library, from titles relating to world issues (The Other Side of Immigration), violence prevention (The Hunting Ground), gender issues (Boys Don’t Cry) and diversity (A Day Without a Mexican), plus the complete Eyes on the Prize series.
Artwork, including a piece by Ricardo Levins Morales depicting the disability justice movement in South Africa, ensures that the space speaks to all facets and intersections of identity.
The OID bookshelves are filled with key social justice writings. Pendakur says it’s as intersectional as possible while also offering specificity. Topics include critical race theory, feminist studies and queer theory. As with the movie library, an honors check-out system pervades in the spirit of the Honor Code.
Frosted glass adorns the main entry to emphasize that this is a “safe space.” Individuals, student organizations and clubs have complete after-hours access by swipe card.
The work table is part of a large community area that encourages users to gather, engage in difficult topics, learn from each other or just relax.
After hearing about important events via social media and smartphone, students are encouraged to gather in OID to watch unfolding news together and engage in discussion. It’s also a popular place to watch documentaries and movies.
The OID space serves as yet another comfy hangout on campus, with entrances and exits to the main area and offices carefully planned to provide privacy and safety.