Allyson Livingstone, the new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education, Training, and Development as of three months ago, has hosted two training sessions on how faculty and staff can support students affected by recent developments in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs.
The sessions on DACA and TPS were aimed at informing faculty and staff of the protocol if a student is concerned about their status, or if a faculty or staff member is approached by a federal immigration agent. The sessions were held on Feb. 20 and 22, over the winter break and were attended by 20 to 30 faculty and staff members, according to Livingstone.
During the sessions, Livingstone advised faculty and staff to contact public safety if they are approached by an agent. Livingstone, in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot, also encouraged students with concerns to contact the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The best advice to students affected by DACA and TPS, according to Livingstone, is to “contact our office.”
Livingstone acknowledged that, as this is a sensitive issue, students may not feel comfortable contacting her office and recommended students contact those they feel comfortable speaking with, such as their Community Advisor (CA), who she hopes will then be able to pass information along to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Livingstone also focused on offices that support students concerned about DACA or TPS, including her own, the Intercultural Center (ICC), the International Students and Scholars office (ISSO) and the Hiatt Career Center, which can assist students in navigating the process of getting a work permit.
Livingstone comes to Brandeis from Salem State University, where she served as an assistant professor for undergraduate students in the school social work, teaching about multisystemic privilege and oppression. In her role at Brandeis, Livingstone works in the same field but focuses on bringing a deeper understanding of privilege and oppression to faculty during the hiring process and in hosting interactive teaching sessions for undergraduate and graduate members of the Brandeis community.
In the sessions or workshops, faculty and staff engage in reflection on privilege and oppression, work in pairs, view audio and video files related to diversity and engage in discussion with Livingstone. The goal of these sessions are to “deepen awareness and understanding of multisystemic privilege and oppression and the ways it is enacted and challenged at Brandeis,” said Livingstone, in an interview with The Hoot.
Livingstone hopes to hold similar sessions with student leaders on campus and would like to
collaborate with other offices on campus, such as the ICC and the ISSO. As with the faculty sessions she hosts, Livingstone wants to “help students understand privilege and oppression.”
Livingstone mentioned a few challenges she has encountered. She mentioned that it was difficult to “find enough time in the day” to take on her various projects and described that, as a new member of the Brandeis community, it is difficult to get “a sense of where people are” with respect to an understanding of diversity. She described some of her day-to-day work as cultivating relationships and working to really understand Brandeis’ culture.
Livingstone described her work in the long-term and said she intends to develop a program that will “fit” Brandeis to help deepen understandings of privilege and oppression. She hopes to achieve this by relying on relationships within the community and working with offices and resources on campus. Livingstone was hopeful about her progress, citing the “incredible people” at Brandeis as well as Mark Brimhall-Vargas, the chief diversity officer (CDO) and vice president for diversity at Brandeis.
Students concerned about DACA or TPS can contact the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which is located in Gryzmish 105.