College of Liberal Arts and Sciences gets new equity adviser

Javier Vela is appointed new Equity Advisor. 

Courtesy of ISU

Javier Vela is appointed new Equity Advisor. 

Alex Cory

The ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has appointed Javier Vela to represent the college on issues related to equity and inclusion as the department’s new equity adviser.

Vela, who is an associate professor of chemistry and associate in the Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, will also be the chairman of the college’s diversity committee.

Vela will replace Lisa Larson, professor of psychology.

The college’s equity adviser helps the college work on issues that relate to diversity and inclusion among students and faculty. The adviser also represents the college at the university level.

The college’s diversity committee is made up of representatives from different areas of the college who advise the dean on diversity issues.

“A more diverse environment is better for everybody on campus,” Vela said. “It’s good for students and it’s good for staff.” 

Vela said more diversity can help the college resemble the demographics of the country.

“There’s a lot of demographic changes out there, and if we don’t try to move in that direction and try to be informed of what’s happening, then we risk being left behind,” Vela said.

He said that instead of introducing new initiatives, he wants to concentrate his efforts on expanding existing initiatives.

Vela also talked about the recent incident at an ISU tailgate, where a woman tore a Latino protester’s poster.

“It’s of course horrible what happened, and we’re all shocked by it and trying to heal and at the same time trying to do something to make things better,” Vela said.

Vela said it was important to have forums like the one with Students Against Bigotry two weeks ago, where people can voice their opinions.

Vela was last year’s recipient of the Midwest American Chemical Society Stanley Israel Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences for his efforts in helping support diversity in the chemical sciences.