Fresno State welcomes first ever university diversity officer to celebrate multiple cultures

dr Rashanda Booker is the newest member of Fresno State’s staff.

She is the school’s very first University Diversity Officer, a position created to help celebrate multiple cultures on school grounds.

Rashanda comes from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Here in Fresno, she hopes to be a champion that rallies everyone together.

Rashanda mentions, “Number one, Authenticity. Diversity is beautiful but it is just a metric, it’s how we measure what institutions are doing. Ultimately its about inclusivity its about having people that are valued at the table and them having a voice.”

Rashanda was the first in her family to graduate from college, and holds a doctorate in education from Louisiana State University.

She has been helping underserved communities and families navigate higher education for 20 years.

“I wanted to be the person that helps someone else, because my family didn’t understand colleges and how to navigate it. It’s systemically oppressive to people of color and women. So there was a person who looked like me on my first day and helped me through and I decided I am going to be that person that just helps their family go through.” Rashanda explains.

Fresno State President, Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, helped create the position.

He calls it a step in the right direction, especially after the painful revelation of the anti-Semitic views of Henry Madden, the namesake of the University Library.

“It was very painful to realize that the library dean had very powerful and deep connections to the Nazi party… In discovering this then this group came together, this task force that I formed came together and produced a 74 page report that really charted the next steps to move forward.” explains Dr. Jiménez Sandoval.

both dr Rashanda Booker and President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval look forward to bringing people together and celebrate the on campus diversity and have those discussions that can help improve student life and sense of belonging.

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