MIT announces new administrative position to facilitate diversity

Associate Dean for Diversity will co-lead LBGTQ Services and Office of Multicultural Programs

MIT announced the creation of the position of Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Community Involvement last Thursday. In an email to the community Suzy Nelson, vice president of the Division of Student Life, stated that Gustavo Burkett would fill the role.

Burkett is currently the director of student involvement at Boston College. He, an immigrant to the US from Argentina, is also working towards a Ph.D. in higher education and concentrating in social justice at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The position involves helping to lead programs such as LBGTQ Services (Burkett himself is openly gay) and the Office of Multicultural Programs.

The announcement comes in the wake of increasing calls for diversity on campus. These include the MIT Black Students’ Union’s recommendations, created in 2015 in response to national events surrounding minorities in higher education. Although this new position is a step forward in fulfilling the recommendations, it does not satisfy the BSU’s call for a diversity representative in every department.

More recent activism includes November’s Solidarity Rally, at which students demonstrated support for marginalized groups on campus, and MIT Rainbow Lounge’s “takeover” of departmental lounges.