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Dean Adams brings new life to campus diversity initiatives

By Jenna Fernandes

Section: News

September 23, 2005

Jamele Adams has officially taken up residence in his new home in the office of student life. As the new Assistant Dean of Student Life for the Support of Diversity, replacing Nathaniel Mays, Dean Adams describes his role on campus as two-fold. As an Assistant Dean, he is here for the maintenance of operations;

making sure Brandeis University is meeting the expectations of the students and that the students are meeting the expectations of Brandeis.

His specific assignment as Dean of Diversity allows him to support, advocate, and initiate all diversity initiatives taken part by the University. He also works closely with Dianne Hannan, Director of Community Service and Suzie Talukdar, Director of the Intercultural Center (ICC). In addition, he has taken up an interim post as the point person for student development and conduct.

Adams is very excited to be here, saying Brandeis is very unique. Student leaders are authentic and genuinely want to be the best. Having already conducted programs with Community Advisors (CAs), Orientation Leaders and First-years, Adams says he found students to be engaged, receptive and that they challenged things that were questionable.

He attributes that to realizing that everyone makes up diversity. Its all about everyone being respected. Its not about determining whats right and whats wrong. Referring to incidents which occurred during the 2003-2004 school year, he said he is aware of some low points regarding culture and diversity on campus and that we can decide what is permissible in our community.

Dean Adams has many plans and programs in the works for the coming semester. He is working with CAs to design hall programs for their residents. He has met with a student who is launching a new organization, tentatively called the Hip Hop Society. With the help of the Student Union, he is organizing a Meet the New Dean program in the Shapiro Atrium where he will be available to answer questions from students.

He is also planning a comprehensive assessment as to where Brandeis is with regards to diversity, taking into account suggestions and ideas from students and staff. Also among his aspirations is a radio show or talk show based around the issue of diversity.

In the long term, he hopes to help the ICC expand and just really take off. He wants to develop a strategic plan so that we can be the trendsetter in diversity and says I want folks to know that Im here as a resource. Im hereperiod. This office is the students office.

Adams relates that he has just a true passion and a high level of energy and excitement, saying, How can I expect the student body, my colleagues and peers to be excited if Im not excited? He believes that diversity is always evolving. Whats included under the umbrella of diversity now wasnt included ten years ago. We have to adapt and grow with the students to create a space for people to be who they are.

He hopes students will follow his example and be outside of the boxand take steps out of their comfort zones. Putting it simply, he asks the question he wants us all to ask ourselves: Why not try something different?

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