A Letter to the Editor

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Dear Editor,

We need to talk about Kimberly Barrett. 

Due to her e-mail regarding radical respect, some of you have started to see Dr. Kimberly Barrett’s deep flaws as the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. Some of you are just starting to hear about her and her position.  

Dr. Barrett has created an environment where marginalized people feel unsafe, and oppressors feel validated.  

When I was forcibly outed by the university, I filed a bias incident report and met with Dr. Barrett. I let her know my proposed solution was an option in Voyager for students to denote a public versus private name, which would help protect trans and nonbinary students from being forcibly outed. Throughout my journey of instigating institutional change, Dr. Barrett has been extremely vague with me. She “apologize[d]” for the lack of progress by letting me know that future draft policies regarding this issue would be “more affirming in tone,” without telling me how she would achieve that. The day after I sent her an incredibly long e-mail urging her to take action and to stop being complicit in putting trans and nonbinary students in danger, she sent out her Diversity Annual Report, which featured a photo of me. I felt gutted and dehumanized.  

Dr. Barrett has continuously and spectacularly failed. She lacks the open-mindedness and willingness to recognize, or learn, the difficulties marginalized students face on this campus. Instead of working towards an environment where marginalized students feel safe, she focuses on creating one where oppressors feel validated, and marginalized students feel afraid. She has shown herself to be tone-deaf by inviting the police to talk to the campus about safety. She has refused to apologize for the failure of the Bias Incident Reporting System, even she’s well-aware of the system’s flaws. She also sent out an e-mail to the student body encouraging students to fill out her survey on diversity and inclusion, and if everyone did, she would be able to donate $1,000 to the food “bank.” Not only is she wrong to call the food pantry a food bank, but there is also a difference; this shows how little she cares about diversity and inclusion. Although she did end up donating to the food pantry, she lacked the foresight to see the inherent flaws of this plan. 

Dr. Barrett has continuously shown that she lacks the willingness to genuinely care about diversity and inclusion on this campus. Until Dr. Barrett resigns or is fired, Lawrence’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is ingenuine, as she is not fit for this position due to her carelessness when it comes to actual diversity and inclusion on campus.