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New Cultural Director helps underrepresented be seen, heard


New Cultural Director E. Lee Dyer has his mind set on making Virginia State University a more inclusive place.

Dyer who is the new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion explains that after working at predominantly white institutions such as James Madison University and University of Richmond for ten years, he was ready to be back in an HBCU environment.

“I’ve been working in higher education for almost ten years now in traditional predominantly white institutions, but my education background is in Historically Black Colleges and I was ready to be back in the Historically Black College landscape,” Dyer said.

Dyer also explains that another reason why he came to VSU was because he wanted to better represent and help the LGTBQIA+ community here at Virginia State.

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“As a person who identifies as transgender and as a person who was in a LGTBQIA+ life center on a Black college campus, that was life-saving for me and eventually I was going to get back home and do that type of thing,” Dyer said.

Dyer already has some specific events set in store for the Fall 2023 semester to help faculty and staff learn and better represent Latin American students.

“We have an event on Oct. 5, it’s a faculty and staff lunch and learn, so they can learn what Latin and Hispanic students need in a historically black college landscape,” Dyer said.

Dyer is looking forward to the Spring 2024 semester because he has bigger social events planned in which he wants to celebrate the different ethnicities at VSU.

“I really want to try to do a world fest because I think we have a really good diversity of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds,” Dyer said. “I definitely want to get that visibility.”

Dyer also has some plans to celebrate the LGTBQIA+ community here at VSU.

“I also want to do a Pride Week and bring things like a drag show to VSU and bring the ball that the Rainbow Souls used to do back, and really get us into those types of events,” Dyer said.

Dyer is also planning for the future 2024-2025 school year to help represent those who come from underrepresented religious backgrounds and those who identify as neurodivergent.

What Dyer likes best about being the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is that he gets to help the underrepresented populations feel seen and heard.

“I guess you know getting able to make people feel seen and heard and supported,” Dyer said. “In addition to this particular position, I really get to build a long-lasting legacy.”

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