MSHE Alumni Spotlight: Nick Royal

MSHE Alumni Spotlight: Nick Royal

By Chris Neary

nick-royal_msheadlines.jpgThe following story was originally published in the MSHE Alumni Newsletter in December 2021. The interview captured below occurred before Nick Royal transitioned to his role as Equal Opportunity/Title IX Investigator/Analyst at Lesley University, as of September 2022.

A 2015 MSHE alumnus, Nick Royal currently works as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant at his own consulting firm: Royal Training and Consulting. His work, and previous experience as a Civil Rights Investigator, is highlighted throughout this interview. To learn more, click here to read the entire transcript of Nick's interview.

Gabriel Martinez: How do you take care of yourself when it comes to working in diversity, equity, and inclusion spaces?

Nick Royal (he/him): Whether we're looking at what it looks like for black Americans and people of color around the country, whether it looks like wildly oppressive laws targeting queer and specifically trans people, you can't just turn that off. When I think about how do I not just crumple up into a ball at the end of the day? I realize it's because I've built a really good community that shares my values. Just to be in these spaces that we've created with the understanding that the world is not always good, but we can feel good in these four walls is really important. I also have people in my community that will push back on my ideas as well, which I think is also helpful to make sure that I can sit back and see things from a different perspective. That being said, they still see me as a human, that people deserve respect because they're humans and they're alive and to care for that, but I think it's good to have some diversity.

Martinez: What do you feel is the most pressing issue that you see related to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice?

Royal: Within my work in Title IX and as a civil rights investigator, I think one of the most pressing issues is how our universities responding to claims of discrimination, harassment, based on different classes, religion or race, ability, or national origin. But I think there's not a lot of conversation across higher education. We have either individuals or offices who are in charge of education around sexual harassment or misconduct. At a lot of campuses, there's not one person that does the same work around discrimination, harassment, based on race, or based on this ability. I think we're missing something there and I do think our students are asking for it and our policies have not caught up with their demands. I think we have to figure out the field, how we are looking at individual claims and systematic issues.

When I was at the University of Denver, we started seeing an uptick in discrimination based on religion, it was during you know the 2016 campaign season. So, if we're looking at one instant profit based on religion, we can look at that and look at facts, but then look at investigators noticing this trend. How are we including that there's this national conversation that you know is fueling this breasted discrimination? I think that's depressing thing. I don't have an answer to it, but I am willing to have a lot of good conversations.

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