Increasing cultural awareness

Daymyen Layne fills role of director of multicultural education and training

Emily Flamme, Staff Writer

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The position of director of multicultural education and training has not been occupied for a few years, but this month, Daymyen Layne of Hamden filled that role.

Photo contributed by Quinnipiac University

Layne said he will be working closely with multicultural organizations and other departments related to diversity on campus.

“On the student side, that involves more of a support role for student organizations and multicultural organizations in a consulting fashion to different departments across campus,” Layne said.

Layne’s goals at Quinnipiac are to make students more culturally aware and to train faculty in promoting positive cultural interactions with the students.

“We are excited to have Daymyen join the Bobcat Nation,” said Don Sawyer, vice president for equity and inclusion. “He brings a wealth of experience that will help us reach our goal of creating a campus environment that is conducive to the success of every member of our community.”

One way Layne said he will encourage students to be more culturally conscious is through programs focus on the tough conversations regarding culture.

“One of them is called, ‘A Place at the Table,’ where we have certain topics throughout the semester, or year, and sit down, order food and have candid conversations about culture,” Layne said. “We handle anything from Kaepernick in the NFL to voter suppression.”

Another program Layne is encouraging students attend is called, “Circle of Perspectives.” It is based on films that provoke dialogue about culture and get an opportunity to discuss the students’ thoughts.

“We did ‘13th,’ and parts of ‘When They See Us,’” Layne said. “We showed ‘Poverty, Inc.’ We’re just trying to open students’ eyes to more of a global perspective.”

According to Data USA, Quinnipiac’s student body (undergraduate and graduate students) is approximately 75% white. The lack of ethnic diversity here is not something Layne chooses to focus on as an issue.

“I don’t see diversity as necessarily a problem,” Layne said. “Part of the reason I came here is that it reminds me of my undergrad. I went to Hartwick College, a small, predominantly white institution. I feel I was a Quinnipiac student. I see diversity as opportunities.”

An inside look into his job reveals that there is no typical day. Layne has many roles that he has to fulfill. He consults students about their clubs and helps them with other culture-related activities they may be a part of.

“It’s more of an advisory role, I like to take a hands-off approach and guide them,” Layne said. “You should really let students know what it’s like to run a club, run a budget, make sure they’re doing what they want. That really helps with the student experience.”

Layne’s new role at Quinnipiac is to help with culture-related things, but he also wants to help students make the most of their overall college experience.

“My background is in student affairs, and that’s where you really try to build environments where students can grow outside of the classroom,” Layne said. “A lot of students come in as first-year students, and they don’t realize that they can happen to the college as opposed to the college happening to them.”