Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion According to Darryl White Sr.

By Lauren Fields

Creating understanding and supportive spaces is the key to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in higher education. With DEI programs becoming increasingly common in the higher education world, it is vital to recognize how celebrating differences on college and university campuses creates communities for everyone. Bridging the gaps with these programs and initiatives lead to people of all races, genders, sexual orientations and cultures feeling a sense of community and belonging. 

My alma mater, Queens University of Charlotte, promotes the uplifting of all students through the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement. As a result of the 2016 Charlotte riots and periods of civil unrest across the country, the office’s leadership sought to restore the feeling of community between the campus and the city while strengthening DEI resources. One of the ways the office shifted into a stronger focus on DEI initiatives was hiring leadership and diversity advocate Darryl White Sr as the Assistant Dean for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement.

Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, White has always had a passion for strengthening communities through leadership. In 1986, he joined the United States Army. He was recruited to play basketball by Queens University of Charlotte in 1990 where graduated with a B.S. in Sociology in 1994. After staying in the reserves for thirty-four years, Darryl then reached the top of the enlisted leadership ladder in 2007.

  In 2007, Darryl began building his career in diversity, equity, and inclusion with Charlotte-based organization, Community Building Initiative (CBI). The nonprofit organization was established in 1997 as a result of two African American police officers being killed in the line of duty. As the organization continued to expand, a department was created for leadership development. White gained more leadership experience and received training to help increase the organization’s presence and relay the organization’s message both internally and externally. This leadership role not only helped White sharpen his leadership skills; it also mended relationships between Charlotte residents through DEI programming, dialogue and more.

In 2016, Queens University of Charlotte found the answer to their search in none other than Darryl White Sr. He promised to provide resources that would ensure equality and comfortability for students, faculty, and staff on campus. As an alumnus, White found pride in giving back to his alma mater. With the combination of his leadership and background in DEI, White was able to continue to fulfill his desire to emphasize community through empowering all students by implementing DEI Leadership Programs. These programs give students an opportunity to expand their knowledge and awareness relating to topics like identity, communication, and allyship. The programs’ main objective is centered around better understanding how individuals can promote continuous change through supporting, amplifying, and advocating for and with others.

There’s no doubt that these programs have been created without everyone’s benefit in mind. White has helped Queens University of Charlotte place more meaning and understanding into DEI programs for the sake of community and not just because it is a trend. He believes in the significance of initiatives and programs like DEI, especially in spaces like Queens, a predominantly white institution. White’s passion is fueled by providing everyone with community regardless of their differences.