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CMU Focuses on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on Campus

CMU Hires New Coordinator of Inclusivity and Mentor Specialist Ta'Lor Jackson

Difficult conversations around social issues are happening in the office, in our homes and in schools across the country, and Colorado Mesa University is no different. Navigating how to have discourse on campus about race, religion, gender and sexuality is what CMU’s new Coordinator of Inclusivity and Mentor Specialist Ta'Lor Jackson is working towards.

Jackson, a CMU alumna, has hit the ground running since becoming the coordinator of inclusivity. Outside of activities and events she organized during Black History Month, Jackson invited revered national civil rights leader Dr. Dwinita Mosby Tyler for a virtual campus discussion in early spring. Mosby Tyler is the chief catalyst and founder of The Equity Project, LLC – an organization designed to support organizations and communities in building diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies. Mosby Tyler joined Jackson and the CMU community through Zoom to discuss DEI and how to have healthy conversations with one another about race.

“There’s this feeling I think where people feel they have to be masters or proficient in this work; that they need to know the right words, that they are expected to be culturally competent, use correct pronouns. Is it disabilities or people with disabilities, can I call you Black or is it African American? No one wants to say the wrong thing when it comes down to it,” said Jackson on Zoom.

According to Jackson, people often have a fear of messing up, not wanting to offend or be misinterpreted. Mosby Tyler believes that’s because we, as a nation, haven’t normalized conversations around race.

“It makes us uncomfortable; it scares us, we tap dance around it,” said Mosby Tyler. “We call each other out and we weaponize words. We do all kinds of things that continue to make us polarized.”

Both women agree that society needs to change the way we talk about race, and make sure that there are spaces where people don’t have to be afraid of saying the wrong thing.  

Jackson and the CMU inclusion working group have created such a space. They’re talking to the CMU community to learn what issues are specific to campus. They started listening groups with students and will soon delve into faculty and staff to understand what work has already been done and where to go next. 

“It’s easy for someone like myself who is new to come in and be like we need to be doing this and there’s this issue,” said Jackson. “These are conversations that people even before me have been having. So, to be aware of that, and having that context that these aren’t new issues, but that these are things that have been talked about for some time.”

Jackson is a driving force to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are top priorities on campus, and she’s doing so by cultivating healthy conversations while ensuring everyone has a seat at the table.    


Written by Kelsey Coleman