Cal Poly Welcomes Back Diversity Specialist Kimberly McLaughlin-Smith on Nov. 8

Kimberly McLaughlin-Smith
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly will welcome Kimberly McLaughlin-Smith, a diversity specialist at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, back to campus Nov. 8 to lead further conversations around diversity, inclusion, community-building and allyship.

Students, staff, faculty and the San Luis Obispo community are invited to attend an event from 8:30 to 11 a.m. titled “Allyship: Making it Work on Your Campus and In Our Community.”

McLaughlin-Smith will provide a guide to lasting allyship — being willing to use your privilege to take on the task of fighting and speaking up for those who have experienced oppression — through empathetic listening and learning useful to everyone in an inclusive climate.

Later that day, she’ll lead a student-focused event to connect and open dialogue between students from various backgrounds.

McLaughlin-Smith has been consulting with Cal Poly since last spring to help address campus climate issues as the university moves toward healing and change in the wake of a series of racially insensitive and other hate-based incidents. She delivered the keynote address at Cal Poly’s Baker Forum last May.

McLaughlin-Smith has worked at UNC Wilmington since 2007; there, she works with students, staff and faculty to address a variety of topics including implicit bias, creating an inclusive work environment, and becoming an ally. She has also served as a consultant to private industry and the Wilmington public school system.

She has described her work at Cal Poly as “not the magic pill” or the fix, but rather an engagement with the campus community in “actionable dialogue.”

“We look forward to welcoming Kimberly back to campus to guide new discussions and learning opportunities, as we continue to take steps toward a more inclusive campus,” said Jozi De Leon, Cal Poly’s vice president for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer.

The Nov. 8 event will be held in Chumash Auditorium, located in the Julian A. McPhee University Union (No. 65) on campus. For more information about parking on campus, visit For more information about diversity and inclusion at Cal Poly, go to

Contact: Matt Lazier

November 2, 2018

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