By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~
Xavier’s Multicultural, Gender, and Women’s Center (MGWC) recently hired Kelsey O’Neil, recent graduate of Southern New Hampshire University’s graduate school, as their new Assistant Director. O’Neil graduated in June with a Masters of Science (MS) in Organizational Leadership and began working at Xavier last month.
While at Southern New Hampshire University, O’Neil worked as the LGBTQ Graduate Assistant where they organized LGBTQ events and multicultural events and promoted diversity and LGBTQ initiatives on campus, among other responsibilities.
Taj Smith, Director of the MGWC, said the decision to hire an Assistant Director is meant to promote a more inclusive and considerate campus environment.
“As director, it is my vision and responsibility as a privileged cis-gender heterosexual man to consider the ways in which the Xavier community can have respectful conversations about the intersection of gender, sexuality and faith,” Smith said in an e-mail. “The hiring of this position, in conjunction with the rest of the center’s staff, signifies an institutional commitment to intellectually develop a student body that is compassionate of others’ differences, even while holding different values or beliefs.”
O’Neil’s primary responsibilities include “supporting all students at Xavier to critically engage with issues of gender and sexuality.”
O’Neil will directly advise the LGBTQ Alliance and Xavier Students Against Sexual Assault, and they will co-sponsor programming with groups like X-Men, LEAD and GOAL. In the future O’Neil may also organize an intersectional women’s support group.
According to Smith, O’Neil prefers gender-neutral pronouns, such as “they” and “them” instead of “she” and “her,” or “he” and “him.” Other examples of gender-neutral pronouns are ze, hir and hirs.
In their free time, O’Neil enjoys cooking and playing with their dog Taj Mahal, a mastiff/lab mix.
Smith is excited about the new hire because he sees it as a way for more Xavier students to find a home here on campus.
“What excites me the most about filling this position is that students who’ve felt at the margins before or during their Xavier experience can graduate feeling more self-confident, valued and empowered to live out the Jesuit values of love, reflection, solidarity and justice,” Smith said.
The MGWC can be found on GSC’s second floor, room 280. For more information about the Center, visit xavier.edu/multiculturalaffairs
Categories: Campus News