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Microaggressions and FA Support

Recently, I attended a DEqCC meeting along with Hayley Schwartzkopf, Director of Labor Relations, and Nick Mortaloni, Dean of Student Life & Judicial Affairs to dialogue with the committee and guests on the topic of microaggressions and the processes in place for addressing them. If you did not have a chance to review the agenda and supporting materials sent out by Nery Chapetón-Lamas, I encourage you to take the time to peruse the resources to garner a deeper understanding of microaggressions and their impacts.

silhouette of woman standing in front of window

Microaggressions are seemingly inoffensive actions that have powerful effects on the recipient. They are typically brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or not, that communicate messages that are hostile, derogatory, or negative slights/insults toward minoritized/marginalized people. These experiences have a cumulative effect that can result in emotional, psychological, and even physiological impacts on the receiver.

Part of my role as Ombudsperson is to assist faculty who are experiencing harassing or discriminatory actions. Oftentimes, it is difficult to step forward when facing such behaviors, not knowing how they will be addressed or having concerns of retaliation for reporting such incidents. It is important to know that we have procedures in place to support and assist you throughout the process, and the District has a definitive non-retaliation policy.

man thinking

If you are experiencing any type of harassment or discrimination, the first step would be to contact me at to set up a confidential consultation. We can discuss your situation, review your options, and I can explain the processes in place for your particular situation. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether to report or not, but you will receive support from me whatever your decision.

In my life, I have experienced microaggressions based on my ethnicity, gender, and more recently, age. Earlier in my life and career, we did not even have a name for these indignities, let alone an employee organization which could provide a safe-haven and guidance in a confidential manner to address them. Know that as your Ombudsperson, I treat each person with empathy, respect, and compassion, understanding the emotional toll of enduring and reporting such incidents.

The FA looks forward to partnering with campus constituents to bring greater awareness of microaggressions, offer training for responding to them, and ensure that all faculty know their rights and responsibilities.

Mary Gross FA Ombudsperson

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