Descriptive Transcript of DEI welcome video

Note: View complete video here

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Dr. John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas speaks directly to the audience in front of blue background.

Greetings, my name is John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas and I am your new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Vice President. Dear students, staff and faculty, as we enter CT State's first year, I wanted to take a minute to recognize all of you as founders of this institution that will probably outlast us all.


Video begins to slide through various scenes from CT State campuses. This is a list of the different video clips in this section in order of appearance:

  • Male student reads in campus library
  • Students walk through glass lined corridor between classes
  • Instructor demonstrates to student how to use an item of training equipment
  • Student speaks to a staff member in Welcome Center
  • Students study in library
  • Student mixes audio in studio setup
  • Students sit on benches in campus courtyard and talk
  • Students in art class paint from life
  • Group of students in classroom talk┬átogether before class begins
  • Manufacturing lab setup where instructor shows student how machines work
  • Students in classroom listen to lecture
  • Students in scrubs practice skills on each other
  • Instructor presenting to class
  • Students work in high-tech auto garage
  • Students examine different machines
  • Students study in glass paneled atrium
  • Student and science professor sit at table discussing school work questions
  • Students sit in classroom at tables
  • Art students draw plaster bust and fabrics
  • Students walking out of library together
  • Student and staff member talk
  • Two students sit on couch in lounge area talking
  • Two students look at large globe together

While I recognize that for many of you, the transition from the twelve colleges to the one CT State has been challenging, one of the benefits to the transition is that we were able to look under the hood when it comes to diversity, equity, and  inclusion. This is important because institutions like ours usually do not have the time and space to critically examine its own systems, procedures and practices from a DEI lens. So it is in that context that we at the DEI team have been involved in a massive effort to align and infuse DEI throughout our system.   

These efforts which started in the fall of 2023 have yielded many improvements to our work, some of which will be very visible and some of those which are under the proverbial hood. Examples of these under-the-hood improvements span from separating HR and EEO to creating checks  and balances, unifying the 12 different civil rights investigation and compliant process into one CT State process, and developing multiple  databases to track student and staff disability  accommodations. On the other side of our work, we within the DEI office are working hard towards making CT State a place our students, staff and  faculty can develop a sense of belonging. Examples of these outward-facing efforts include nurturing  our DEI-related committees on campus, for we believe that all real change should come from the  campuses, to launching a climate survey to better understand who is and who is not feeling welcome  at our institution. We're also working with external partners at the local, state, national  and recently international levels to generate resources and opportunities for all our CT State folks. Opportunities like Mosaic Fellowship to enhance the representation of underserved  groups and leadership positions in our system, the revamping of staff and faculty orientation  and professional development work and our work developing partnerships with international  higher-ed institutions, something that will create opportunities for our students, teachers, researchers and cultural exchanges.


Transition to John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas speaking directly to the audience.

With all of that said our greatest hope is that you whomever  you are and wherever you come from feel like we are here for you, that this is a place where you  always will feel like you belong because you do.