Greetings from IFO Equity Caucus Coordinator

I’ve had a very informative, intense and productive fall in my new role as the IFO’s Equity Caucus Coordinator getting to know IFO staff and procedures and organizing faculty caucuses around the state. I was able to visit all seven of our campuses and we now have active Faculty of Color caucuses at six campuses, LGBTQ caucuses at four campuses and women’s caucuses at four of our seven campuses. As these caucuses have formed, I’ve been excited to witness new leaders with new and needed perspectives emerging to join with longtime advocates for social justice.
Visiting each campus has helped me better understand what challenges our marginalized faculty face in their daily working lives and I am hopeful that our new caucus structures will help empower faculty and raise the voices of those who have historically been silenced in our union and in our institutions. Many people I’ve connected with are curious about this new approach to equity and inclusion work and its potential not just to support marginalized faculty but to change our workplaces and our union to fairly represent all its members.
I’ve also had the opportunity to advise President Brent Jeffers and the IFO staff on diversity issues at every level, including in our dealings with management and the system office. While there are significant challenges ahead, this is a key time to enact needed change as we currently have both union and system office leadership whom I believe sincerely prioritize equity and inclusion as a critical strategy for organizational and institutional success.
In the coming term, I’ll be continuing my work to support caucus formation and development. This will include continuing work with local caucuses, working with the leadership team to organize a statewide Faculty of Color Caucus meeting, which will take place in St. Cloud on February 8 (for which you may already have an invitation) and participating in a caucus presentation at the IFO LGBTQ+ Conference March 27. I’m also pleased to announce a new statewide Faculty with Disabilities caucus will convene on April 12. In addition, I am working with other grassroots organizers within our union to better engage our very diverse membership and am developing plans for new leadership and empowerment opportunities for our faculty of color.
If you are interested in joining or convening a Faculty of Color, LGBTQ, or Women’s Caucus on your campus, or wish to discuss any of the equity and inclusion issues facing our union, please feel free to contact me. If you are facing workplace discrimination that is affecting your ability to effectively do your job, including racism, sexism and/or homophobia, the IFO is here for you! Please do not hesitate to contact me, IFO equity legal staff Kathryn Engdahl, or your local grievance officer. You are not alone.
I wish you a just, peaceful, and productive semester.