During these times of national unrest stemming from racial violence and police brutality incidents, one of Marymount University’s Student Affairs leaders is dedicating herself to fostering an inclusive campus community.
Brooke Berry, JD, was appointed as the new Dean of Students, Equity and Inclusion this May. She has been a member of the Marymount community since August of 2019, when she was hired as the University’s Title IX Coordinator. Since that time, she has also co-chaired Marymount’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which seeks to create an atmosphere of belonging, respect and substantive change on campus.
With her new role, Berry is looking forward to better facilitating a culture of accountability and civility.
“The college experience at Marymount marks the opportunity to develop academically, spiritually and socially,” Berry said. “It is my hope that all Marymount students feel safe, valued and heard, and are able to make lifelong friendships and memories here.”
Berry has led efforts to craft substantive change at Marymount as the nation seeks to find solutions to systemic racism and injustice. In the wake of the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, she helped organize an Ecumenical Prayer Vigil to mourn Black lives lost. She worked to increase the number of dialogue sessions with students and other community members that aim to acknowledge the trauma of systemic violence against people of color, while also offering solutions.
She was also instrumental in Marymount’s celebration of Juneteenth, connecting students and employees to physical and virtual community service activities to recognize the holiday by making positive change.
“During this time, learning institutions should be shifting from simply listening to taking action. Universities can no longer afford to ignore issues of diversity, equity and social justice,” Berry added. “I am proud of the work Marymount is doing to make some much-needed changes to our campus climate by elevating equity and inclusion as one of our highest institutional priorities. I am also comforted by the collective spirit we’ve seen in recent months to address issues of injustice, and ensure that Marymount is a place where all may feel a sense of belonging.”
Under the leadership of Berry and co-chair Dr. Camille Buckner, the University’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee has achieved the following over the past year:
- Forming the University’s official Inclusion Statement.
- Updating the University’s Bias Incident Reporting Form and reviving the Bias Incident Response Team, a group that responds to reported discriminatory incidents on campus.
- Creating an Inclusion Network that includes more than 100 students, faculty, staff and administrators who are committed to taking new action to build a stronger community.
- Implementing the “You Belong Here” initiative that promotes a more inclusive climate by improving diversity and inclusion-related communications, policies and procedures on campus.
“At this critical moment, when our country is facing a triple crisis – pandemic, economic and civil rights – Marymount is not only ‘talking the talk’ but ‘walking the walk’ with our community,” explained Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “We are focusing our attention on the sanctity of human life and the need for peace, respect and freedom – ‘so all may have life.’”
To learn more about the efforts of Marymount’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, follow @YouBelongMU on Twitter
As Dean of Students, Equity and Inclusion, Berry provides leadership and direction on all student conduct matters, serves as the primary administrative advocate for all undergraduate and graduate students and helps develop campus-wide principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. She continues to also serve as Marymount’s Title IX Coordinator and collaborates with the Office of Human Resources on all Title IX employment-related matters.
“Brooke’s strong commitment and desire to advocate on behalf of all Marymount students made her the ideal person to serve as our new Dean of Students, Equity and Inclusion,” said Dr. William Bisset, Vice President of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs. “Her proven experience as a student affairs professional also compliments our already strong Student Affairs team, and I look forward to the contributions she will continue to make to University-wide strategic planning initiatives that directly benefit Marymount students now and for many years to come.”
Prior to Marymount, Berry was Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life at Virginia Union University, and also served as the school’s Director of Student Conduct and Title IX Coordinator. She holds a juris doctorate from the University of Iowa.