Gabriel Hall starts at Mount Holyoke College

Gabriel Hall starts at Mount Holyoke College as the new assistant director of Campus Diversity Programming and LGBTQ Initiatives.

By Christian Feuerstein 

Gabriel Hall will be joining the Mount Holyoke College Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as the assistant director of Campus Diversity Programming and LGBTQ Initiatives. 

This is the College’s first full-time position focused on the unique experiences and needs of the LGBTQ community on campus.

“I’m super excited to be joining the team at Mount Holyoke,” Hall said. “I’m glad Mount Holyoke is supporting the students and that I can be a part of that support.” He starts on September 28, 2020. 

“Gabe is a tremendous addition to our team as we continue our critical work towards gender-based equity,” said Shannon Da Silva, associate director of equity and compliance.

Hall is a graduate of Agnes Scott College, a gender-diverse women’s college in Decatur, Georgia. 

“I think about how much that experience really prepared and informed me for the rest of my life,” he said. “It’s so exciting to be circling back to a similar institution, to be able to contribute to the experiences that current students are going through.”

“As a fellow women’s college graduate, I look forward to Gabe’s voice at the table,” said Carol Stewart, director of staff diversity and inclusion initiatives.

After graduating from Agnes Scott, Hall spent a year working at Ashoka University in India, then came to western Massachusetts to get his master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

Hall then served as the assistant director of Multicultural and International Student Services at Hampshire College, and then as the assistant director of International Student Engagement at Amherst College.

Hall has also been a consultant on diversity and inclusion for higher education, and has advised on best practices for transgender and nonbinary student support, facilitated staff workshops on LGBTQ student support, and hosted support spaces for LGBTQ students. He was a guest speaker at the 2018 BOOM! conference and at other events at Mount Holyoke and facilitated an affinity space for transgender and nonbinary students at the 2019 BOOM! conference. 

The position Hall will be filling was listed as part of the College’s Anti-Racism Action Plan, to bolster Mount Holyoke’s education, training and professional development. Hall is familiar with the College’s plan. 

“I personally really appreciate the level of detail that is communicated in the plan,” Hall said. “Often we see these anti-racism plans that are all lofty abstract ideas, maybe with one or two numbers here, but this really reads like a list of SMART [Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound] goals. I’m really blown away by the care and the attention to detail, because it’s a lot for an institution to commit to. I’m so happy that it’s specific and that it’s intentional.” 

“As a trans Filipino-American person, I’m also interested in the ways that our conversations on gender and sexuality can be deepened and nuanced by an anti-racist approach,” he said. “Understanding the ways that race, ethnicity, nationality, ability, socioeconomic status and more overlap with and inform LGBTQ experiences is crucial to equity work and to making practices and policies that serve the whole community.”

Hall is also familiar with the College’s chosen name policy, and is looking forward to assisting and supporting its implementation. 

Starting a new position in the middle of a pandemic obviously isn’t ideal, Hall said. “I think some of this [awkwardness] is ameliorated by my guest speaking at Mount Holyoke in the past. But it’s strange, you know, everyone’s in their two-inch-by-two-inch box on my computer screen!”