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Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 1

Monday, March 28, 2022

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Image by Shelbi Hoover, Crawfordsville District Public Library.

Welcome to West Liberty University's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Matters Newsletter. We are thrilled to unveil our inaugural DEI Matters official publication with all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the global community at large. The purpose for our monthly newsletter is to serve as a digital platform to promote awareness, inclusiveness, and initiatives regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion activities, workshops, and publications.

West Liberty University's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion serves as the model among the best DEI frameworks and initiatives among higher education institutions in the state of West Virginia. Collectively our newsletter will serve as gathering to connect everyone, regardless of one's race, class, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, etc., Here at West Liberty University we strive to create a sense of belonging, and we need everyone's unique perspectives, backgrounds, recommendations to continue to strive and thrive.

We welcome guest writers, photographers, promotional work, announcements, and upcoming events to submit for publication consideration in our future issues, which will be published every other week. Please send all creative works, articles, research photographs, art pieces, etc., to

It's Women's

History Month!

Join us all month long in

celebrating the women we <3.

Read More

Did you know?

Women's History Month began as Women's History Week, in 1978. It wasn't until 1987 that the event grew into a month-long movement.

More WHM facts

Support women-owned.

This month is the perfect time to show your solidarity with these tenacious leaders, entrepreneurs, and service providers.

How you can help

All Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives, Activities, Trainings, Workshops, and Other Initiatives Are Under The Auspices of The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Spices Meet and Greet

By: Siddhi Mahatole

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International Affairs' students met for their monthly "Meet and Greet" Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in Shotwell Hall at 4:00 p.m.

The SPICES, or the international club on the West Liberty University Campus, had a meet and greet session with Dr. Monique L. Akassi on Wednesday. Dr.- Akassi who is Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Strategic Initiatives, had a casual discussion with all the international and West liberty students on the campus in the international center (Shotwell hall including Ryan Glanville, Coordinator of International programs and Recruiting and an International student advisor. All the SPICES club members-- including Gopika Sampathkumar (President of SPICES), Siddhi Mahatole (Vice President of SPICES), May Thinzar Khine (Event Coordinator), Aicholpon Kurmanova (Marketing head), George Bagrov, Angie Lisbeth Campos Mejia, Ismail Amara and Shelby Simonton.

Dr. Akassi, Ryan Glanville and all the students had a meet filled with diverse discussions around the globe. She said how international club is near and dear to her and how she would love to help them. Dr. Akassi put into her valuable informative points to help the international students on the campus. They talked more about diversified culture, seeking education abroad, learning multiple languages and many more. The place was full with love, unity and laughter. Siddhi Mahatole, Vice President of the SPICES also recorded a fun session with Dr. Akassi which is available to watch on WLU SPICES Instagram page. The students from the club were really happy to have her in the center and connect with her personally.

 That’s our official SPICES Instagram page students meet monthly, and all are welcome to join. Each meeting is devoted to making cross cultural connections and learning from one another while building lifelong friendships.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Szabo at

Certificates for Inaugural

DEI Online Training Will Roll Out This Semester

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On Thursday, March 17, 2022 West Liberty University's students united together for a candlelight vigil and service, "Peace for Ukraine," which was provided by Minister Diann Nickerson and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The event took place at 7:00 p.m., and it was well attended by students, faculty, staff, and the community.

Women of Color Unite At West Liberty University

By: Siddhi Mahatole

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On March 24, 2022, Dr. Monique L. Akassi, Interim Special Assistant To The President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Strategic Initiatives, hosted an event in the R. Emmett Conference Center located in the ASRC. The event was a Tea Party social gathering for the “Women of Color Initiative Mentoring Group” and also an inaugural event of West Liberty University’s Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion.

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted the event for all the faculty and staff members and students of West Liberty University. The purpose of this newly established group is to provide mentorship and support for women of color for West Liberty University. The event was focused on Black Girl Magic participation, scholarship opportunities, global community building, study groups, community service projects, sisterhood bonding, etiquette 101 workshops, and social event activities.

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The event had several faculty members and students, including Vishakha Maskey, Lauren Shaulis, Haley Dowdy, Gopika Sampathkumar, Kavya Singh, George Bagrov, Kaitlynn Lopes, Jadae Maxton, Siddhi Mahatole, May Thinzar Khine, Aicholpon Kurmanova and Angie Mejía Campos. All the faculty and administrators, shared their life experiences and more about empowering women while inspiring each other. Siddhi Mahatole from India and May Thinzar Khine from Myanmar also shared their backgrounds and life stories in the event.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has launched a strong platform for women to voice their experiences and difficulties. Dr.Akassi thinks that all women need to uplift each other and become the strongest version of ourselves, especially today. Ms. Joy Webb, guest speaker and Program Director for Community Investment Network, introduced the Black Girl Joy scholarship opportunity of $550 to the women in the room. The application deadline of the scholarship is April 12, 2022 while the application links will be sent out through the emails to the West Liberty University students. The event was indeed successful with delicious food, tea, women empowerment conversations and building healthy network amongst each other. 

Second Chance Prom Is A Success At West Liberty!



On Friday, March 25, 2022 Second Chance Prom was a great opportunity for people like me who may have lost their promin 2020 due to the pandemic. However, because this one was hosted by the PRIDE Club I knew I was going to be a judgement free zone, which really made a difference in the energy that was in the room. There was nothing but love in the room, and I had the best time hanging out with my friends and watching everyone feel so comfortable in their own skin. I am so thankful that PRIDE held this event because I really got to see what pure happiness looked like. Growing up in very conservative area I always felt a bit of pressure from my peers to blend in rather than stand out. However, unlike the typical high school prom setting, there was no judgement, only smiles and love.

Meet the DEI Advisory Council Board Members

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Attention Graduating Seniors!

By: Dr. Eveldora Wheeling


This year the West Liberty University Campus and Community Diversity committee is putting together two exciting new events to congratulate graduating seniors on their accomplishments.


The Multicultural Recognition Ceremony and The Lavender Ceremony (LGBTQAI+) acknowledges the unique experiences of underrepresented students at West Liberty University. These celebrations serve to commemorate and highlight experiences and accomplishments within students’ familial and cultural environment. 

The Multicultural Ceremony is a way to celebrate, unite, honor, acknowledge, and recognize the exceptionalities of diverse students. It is a celebration that highlights promise, distinguished accomplishments, and achievements within their cultural context. This is a time to acknowledge historically marginalized communities and unite as a bridge on one shared pathway. The historical roots of Multicultural Celebration was initiated at Wichita State University (1995) and has historical struggles from the Civil Rights movements (Banks, 1989; Davidman & Davidman, 1997) and when Woodson (1926) “instituted a first week-long celebration.”

The Lavender Ceremony as defined by the Human Rights Campaign is “an annual ceremony conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the University.” It first took place at the University of Michigan in 1995 and has now grown to include 100+ institutions here in the United States and abroad.

Thank you for your interest in learning more about participating in one of the recognition ceremonies, both of which will be held separately on Tuesday April 26th. Please follow the short questions below. The Campus and Community Diversity Committee will be in touch regarding specifics of the ceremonies and other details. 


Please complete the form found here:

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Campus and Community Diversity Community Pave The Way

Dr. Felipe Rojas and Mr. Chris McPherson

The Campus & Community Diversity Committee has been fortunate to have grown its efforts since August 2019 thanks to receiving grant funds from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission's Diversity for Equity Grant. Since August 2019, this committee has received over $16,000 in grant funding to plan programs open to students and the local community. These funds have helped further develop a campus prayer/meditation space, bring guests to campus for Black History Month, and raise awareness on important issues such as hosting a Transgender Day of Remembrance. Currently under the direction of Co-Chairs Dr. Felipe Rojas and Chris McPherson, the group strives to continue its growth and welcomes the diverse backgrounds and interests of its members. This diversity allows the committee to continually develop new initiatives and opportunities that help demonstrate a culture of inclusion and belonging at West Liberty University.

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