The History of the CDI
In 2014, Dr. Taj Smith was hired to create a new center, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, whose mission would be to invite all students to engage in diversity, inclusion and justice programming and initiatives. Dr. Smith hired 5 staff members starting in 2014 to help him execute this new vision for leveraging the diversity of a growing student body.
Prior to Dr. Smith's arrival, the Multicultural, Gender & Women's Center (MGWC) was established to recognize the merging of the Women's Center and Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA).
In 1972, three years after it became co-educational, Xavier University established Breen Lodge as its first Educational Resource and Women's Center, to serve as a "badly needed and identifiable resource center for women's activities at Xavier." The Center's activities included a weekly radio show, speakers program, student-faculty discussion series, courses, a re-entry program, a library, a drop-in center, symposia, and workshops.
Breen was dismantled eight years later, upon the assertion that its work was no longer necessary. Petitions for its return ensued for decades, reaching a zenith in spring of 2005, when the Student Government Association presented the Provost and Academic Vice President with a proposal for a new Women's Center. It was accompanied by letters of support from 12 faculty members, 10 staff members, and 34 student organizational leaders; as well as the signatures of five hundred students. The efforts to invigorate the campus with a new women's center was truly an effort on behalf of Xavier University students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and friends in the community.
At the request of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, in the fall of 2005, the Vice Provost for Diversity convened a committee of five faculty members, seven administrators, a staff member, and eight students to develop a more detailed proposal that would guide the planning and implementation of the Center. The administration's acceptance of their proposal in the spring of 2006 marked an important milestone in Xavier's efforts to ensure equity and excellence across its mission. The Women's Center opened in the Fall of 2007 under the founding directorship of Jennifer Wies, PhD.