EDITORIAL: Improve diversity of Hiatt Career Center
When it was first proposed by the Ford Hall 2015 movement last semester, many activists, administrators and onlookers alike agreed that adding more clinicians of color — specifically, professionals specializing in multicultural mental health — to the Brandeis Counseling Center would be an important and easy-to-implement policy to aid the student body. The newly-branded BCC has followed through and done just that.
An Aug. 31 email from the Division of Students and Enrollment notified the student body that the BCC hired several new clinicians, including three clinicians of color, for this year. These new clinicians’ professional interests include multiculturalism and identity issues, as well as other topics in which other BCC psychologists lack backgrounds. This board praises the BCC for its swift work bringing in new clinicians with professional expertise on race and identity. These new hires both fill a demand within the student body and round out the BCC’s staff more broadly, providing clinicians who are better qualified to aid with issues on which the center may not have had relevant experts.
However, we also encourage the University to apply this same attitude of swift and thoughtful hires to another sector of the University in the business of consulting with students: the Hiatt Career Center.
Currently, Hiatt employs only two full-time staff of color. One of the center’s main missions is to aid students in starting a post-collegiate career, and for this reason, it is important that Hiatt’s staff gains advisors who can share first-hand experiences with students of color on traversing the well-documented institutional biases they are up against in seeking gainful employment. Counselors of color could provide resources and networks to help students facing this difficult problem.
That the BCC is actively working to consider race as a key factor in its work is excellent, but this same philosophy must be applied across the University’s services — indeed, if one of the primary purposes of education is to gain job opportunities, then it is hard to think of a more important service for the University to consider.
Moreover, centralizing race at Hiatt would be a victory across the board, providing clearly measurable benefits to both students of color and administrators. As students receive relevant and useful advice about the unique difficulties they are up against, they will hopefully earn better employment opportunities after college within their chosen fields of interest. This obviously helps students, and higher post-graduate employment across demographics boosts the University’s spot on national rankings, providing an obvious institutional benefit alongside the institutional goal of aiding the student body.
As the University continues to pump up its yearly price tag, this board has mostly acknowledged grudgingly that increased funds are needed to meet the ever-growing demands of services from the student body. Here is precisely one of those services that is most crucial, and one which intersects with the University’s social justice mission, its interest in seeing graduates employed and its stated desire to better serve students of color in the wake of Ford Hall 2015.
As higher-level administrative searches wind gradually on, the costs of a few extra salaries and a couple more job searches can’t override the need for relevant on-the-ground workers aiding students within the University’s bureaucracy.