Ling Gao

Last week, the Office of Graduate Student Development and Diversity hosted its second mandatory workshop on campus climate, diversity and inclusivity as part of the orientation program for incoming graduate students.

Piloted for the first time last year, the workshops identify campus resources for sexual harassment, discrimination and general support. They also create a space for dialogue surrounding diversity and inclusivity at Yale.

“I think this kind of a setting where we’re encouraging this kind of dialogue is really crucial and we need to create more spaces for that,” said Graduate Student Assembly President Lucylle Armentano GRD ’21, who was among the facilitators of this year’s session.

Armentano, who entered graduate school before the implementation of this program, said that the workshops gave attendees an opportunity to “talk about dynamics in the classroom” as they pertain to diversity and inclusion. She added that while broad in scope, the session was able to narrow its focus when necessary.

Graduate students engaged in seminar-style workshops, each with about 15–20 students. In the 1 hour and 15 minute session, students were able to learn about University resources and open spaces for sharing perspectives on Yale’s campus climate. Students watched Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s GRD ’08 TED Talk on “The Danger of a Single Story” and then broke into smaller groups to discuss their thoughts on stereotypes and campus climate.

Former GSA President Stephen Gaughran GRD ’21, who led a session, commented that while the graduate school has facilitated workshops in the vein of this orientation program in the past, he thought that this year’s worked “particularly well.” Gaughran added that the discussion-based portions of the workshops were particularly successful.

“On a more personal level, even though I was leading the sessions, I felt like I got a lot out of the experience just by hearing the thoughts and stories of students from different backgrounds and from around the world,” Gaughran told the News.

The Office of Graduate Student Development and Diversity was created in 2000.

John Besche | john.besche@yale.edu