by Dwayne Schneider
I am a Custodial Services Building Care employee at Cornell University in charge of taking care of the building and its bathrooms. I love my job, but I think things have gone too far in advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Cornell. One of the faculty members on the second floor of our building is now identifying as a cat and insists that I put kitty litter in the men’s room. He even puts notes on the door of my closet asking for it.
I spend enough time every year taking mandatory six-course certificate program, where I hear from Cornell leadership about the importance of evolving a culture of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging. I am doing my best to support a Cornell culture where everyone feels valued and where we can all bring our whole, authentic selves to work. They tell us that we will develop techniques to create and cultivate an inclusive work environment. But I am a dog person, and I have never changed kitty litter before. There is so much that has not been included in the mandatory Diversity, Equity, and Belonging training. How often should I change the kitty litter? Should I use clay or tofu? Clumping or nonclumping litter?
I have evaluated how power, privilege, and oppression manifests itself in everyday life, and I have taken up the kitty litter challenge. At least this faculty member is identifying as a tabby and not a tiger. Another silver lining is that he is not gender fluid so I do not have to take care of litter boxes in both the men’s and women’s room. But tell me, when will this craziness end?