Christopher Hinesley, assistant director for the Center for Campus Life – The Q Center, received the 2020 Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Staff Pluralism Award during the Presidential Awards for Outstanding Staff on February 17, 2021. He will receive an artistic rendition of a flame, representing the spirit of diversity, and a net cash prize of $1,000. Hinesley was one of eight recipients who were honored at the awards.
Hinesley works hard to make connections across campus with a focus on diversity, from Safe Zone Training, the AdvanceRIT Women of Color research team, the Gray Matter program, the Black and Pink program which is an LGBTQIA+ prisoner pen-pal project, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion Breaking Bread series, inclusive hiring training, supporting students of color, and President Munson’s Sexual Harassment Task Force. He is focused on students all year long from the Rainbow Pride Picnic to the Rainbow Graduation
In accepting the honor, Hinesley said, “This award has a distinguished list of nominees and awardees. I’m so honored to be among them. The Jordan family has truly made an impact with this award, which has become both an incentive and a marker for our continuous efforts to understand, embrace, and actively work for the diversity of our RIT community.”
He added this is a shared honor.
“Without the students who have articulated their vision and disclosed the barriers they face, without the staff members who enthusiastically work collaboratively with me, and without the faculty allies and alumni pressing for change, I would have accomplished very little,” he said.
The Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Staff Pluralism Award is named in honor of Jordan who served as the first chairman of the President’s Commission on Pluralism and Inclusion at RIT. Jordan’s family is proud to see that his hopes and dreams so many years ago have come to fruition. His wife, E. Cassandra Jordan added they are thrilled that Hinesley is being recognized.
“Having learned of his many contributions, activities and extensive creative involvement to enhance and continue the promotion of pluralism and inclusion, leaves no doubt in our minds that he is indeed worthy of this award,” she said.
Colleagues of Hinesley agree describing his work as that of a social worker, an advocate, and mediator.
One person who nominated Hinesley wrote:
“His work goes far beyond being a fierce supporter and leader in our LGBTQ+ community; he has also done a significant amount of work to support our black and brown communities and women on campus and has a deep understanding of the nature of intersectionality.”
“This past spring, when RIT closed due to the coronavirus, Chris was concerned about his students’ mental health. Lockdown was difficult for everyone, but especially for LGBTQIA+ students who had to return to an unsupportive home. Chris created an online hangout over zoom for his students which he attended weekly. Surprisingly, the largest number of attendees came from RIT’s Dubai campus. These students reported that participating in online Q Center meetings was one of their very first opportunities to openly express their identities.”
And one colleague summed it up this way:
“I am convinced RIT is more inclusive because of his many contributions.”
It’s no small feat when selecting the recipient each year. The selection committee was comprised of: Peggy Tirrell, Marge Ryan, Adowa Boateng, Michael Voelkl, Joanna Prescott, André Hudson and Sandra Whitmore, Chair.