E. Tejada III feels energized.
Tejada arrived on campus in June as the associate director for gender and sexuality, a new position in Clark University’s Office of Identity, Student Engagement, and Access (ISEA). They are ready to enhance Clark’s offerings of LGBTQIA+ support groups, events, and initiatives so that students exploring their gender and sexuality can find community.
“I enjoy the ability to impact change, policy, programming, education, and student engagement,” says Tejada. “Doing that in a way that builds upon my past experience and allows me to be a resource and expert, while continuing to grow, is exciting.”
Tejada has worked in student affairs for 13 years and previously founded an LGBTQ+ Resource Center at Marquette University. They draw from their own college experience while doing this work.
“I am a first-gen, Latinx, Mexican heritage individual,” says Tejada, who has a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Tulsa and a master’s degree with specialization in educational administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “I knew nothing about resources or navigating the college process, which plays a hand in how I seek to ensure students feel supported equitably.”
They want to start a trans- and gender-diverse support and discussion group, expand the number of inclusive bathrooms on campus, and formalize large-scale events like LGBTQ+ History Month and Pride week. They are also working with Information Technology Services to ensure gender-diverse students can adjust their names when Clark begins using Canvas as its new learning management system next year.
“A big thing across the board is reducing harm for folks,” Tejada says. “I want to support programming that exists but add more structure so that what Clark is already doing is sustainable long term.”
They want to create more spaces on campus for students to find a sense of belonging because roughly 40% of Clark’s student population identifies as LGBTQIA+. They also hope to build partnerships with members of the Clark community who have been leading the efforts to plan and execute inclusive programming.
“I don’t want students, faculty, and staff to feel like I’m coming in and trying to take anything away from them. I’m trying to build on what’s been accomplished,” they say. “I genuinely care about this work and ensuring that students feel supported and seen. I want them to have spaces where they can exist, be themselves, and find fellowship.”
The walls of Tejada’s office in Dana Commons are decorated with pride flags, fliers they’ve designed from previous programs and events, and nods to the Marvel Universe.
“I’m a huge nerd and an artist,” says Tejada, who is often seen across campus wearing some nerdy-themed clothing or accessories. They are already starting to feel at home at Clark.
“In the few weeks I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve found my people.”