Our EDI Team

The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is comprised of several teams. Collectively, these teams are responsible for realizing EDI’s mission to uphold dignity for all.

UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Office of The Vice Chancellor

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team works directly with the Vice Chancellor to implement her strategic plan and advance the Office’s mission through engagement with our campus partners, who each contribute to this goal through education, research, investigations, and advocacy. Together, we aim to lead the University and larger community by providing tools and resources to build a community which promotes our shared value of upholding dignity for all.

Email: welisten@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 825-3935

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  • Ryan Adserias
    Chief of Staff & Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

    Mr. Adserias joined UCLA in February 2021 as Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to Vice Chancellor Spain Bradley. Prior to joining the EDI team, Ryan served as the Diversity and Inclusion Outreach Specialist in the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Ryan is currently completing a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received his Master’s degree in higher education leadership, and a Bachelor’s in history and gender and women’s studies.

  • lillie hsu
    Lillie Hsu
    Director of Educational Initiatives

    Lillie Hsu leads educational initiatives, including training and other interventions, to advance equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the UCLA community. Before stepping into this role, she was one of two Discrimination Prevention Officers appointed to open the UCLA Discrimination Prevention Office following the Moreno Report.

  • rusty klibaner
    Rusty Klibaner
    Events & External Affairs Manager

    Mr. Klibaner graduated from UCLA with a degree in Communication Studies, along with minors in English and Russian Language. He also received an M.A. from UCLA’s Cinema and Media Studies program in the School of Theater, Film and Television. He is thrilled to stay in the UCLA family and join Vice Chancellor Spain Bradley’s team, assisting with programming, external affairs, and special projects for all branches of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

  • johnathan perkins
    Johnathan Perkins
    Director, Race and Equity

    Mr. Perkins joined UCLA in the Fall of 2019 as Special Assistant to Vice Chancellor Kang and member of the BruinX Team. Before joining UCLA, Johnathan served within the Office of the General Counsel at Harvard University. During the first several years of his legal practice, he worked as an associate in the higher education division of a premier, Philadelphia-based law firm. In addition to these positions, Johnathan has also regularly served as a consultant, writer, and speaker on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Johnathan received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, and his B.A magna cum laude from Temple University.

Research & Bruin Engagement Office

The Research & Bruin Engagement Office’s mission is to help UCLA become a more equitable, diverse and inclusive (EDI) community through the use of empirically validated methods to inform and affect change within UCLA. We are the central hub where those working on EDI issues in our UCLA community can gather to access tools, guidance and resources.

Email: bruinx@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 206-7411

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  • brandie kirkpatrick
    Brandie Kirkpatrick
    Director of The Faculty Search Process & Diversity Programs

    Ms. Kirkpatrick received her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara, and Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with an emphasis in Higher Education from Cal State Northridge. Brandie began her career at UCLA in the Academic Senate Office where she worked on issues including faculty welfare, childcare, diversity, and grievances. She later assisted the Director of Diversity and Faculty Development with coordinating the UCLA Council on Advisors and many other faculty development related programs. Brandie also served as the 2011-2012 President of the UCLA Staff Assembly. In her current role Brandie oversees the UCLA Equity Advisors, ladder faculty recruitment process, Faculty Career Development Award and generates the annual Academic Affirmative Action Plan.

  • anyssa llerena
    Anyssa Llerena-Tobin
    EDI Student Initiatives Lead
    Program Coordinator, EDI Student Advisory Board

    As the EDI Student Initiatives Lead, Ms. Llerena-Tobin assists in the development, implementation, and analysis of campus programs and projects related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She also currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Student Advisory Board. Anyssa’s research interests include the effects of diversity-related initiatives on student success metrics and the intersections of race, gender, and campus sexual assault. Ms. Llerena-Tobin received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University in 2015, and Master of Arts in Psychology from California Baptist University in 2017.

  • carli straight
    Carli Straight
    Director of Institutional Research

    Dr. Straight is the Director of Institutional Research in the BruinX office. Carli began her career at UCLA as a Principal Statistician in the Academic Personnel Office. In this capacity, Carli played a significant role in the UCOP-mandated faculty salary equity study and evaluation of the Negotiated Salary Trial Program. In 2016, she joined BruinX as a data scientist. Having joined the team shortly after the office was established, Carli has been a key player in the conception and implementation of major office initiatives and projects, including the BruinX Dashboards, Faculty Hiring Process Assessment, BruinXperience app, Academic Affirmative Action Plan, Diversity Scorecard, and Faculty Hiring Portfolios. Carli has worked in the field of institutional research for over 10 years. She holds a B.A. in psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz and an M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Claremont Graduate University.

  • carmen toscano
    Carmen Toscano
    Administrative Assistant for Associate Vice Chancellor Margaret Shih

    Ms. Toscano graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History. Prior to joining the team, she was a National Finance Assistant for the Biden-Harris Campaign. During her time at UCLA, she interned at the California Department of Education and was an Elementary Education Director for Amigos de UCLA, a student-run service organization. She is delighted to return to UCLA and support EDI’s mission!

Civil Rights Office

In 2020, UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion unified existing civil rights investigatory units under the new Civil Rights Office (“CRO”), which serves UCLA’s campus and the UCLA Health System, and is led by the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civil Rights. CRO ensures that UCLA remains in compliance with federal and state law and applicable UC policy concerning protections under Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and equal employment opportunity and affirmative action obligations. CRO is comprised of the following units:

Phone: (310) 825-3935

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  • olga lavinthal
    Olga Lavinthal
    AA Statistical/Compliance Analyst

    Ms. Lavinthal is an expert in statistical analysis, labor/employment issues, affirmative action, compliance, equity, and diversity. Ms. Lavinthal studied econometrics, political science, social movements, political organizations, government, and quantitative research methods. She has a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree from Columbia University. Ms. Lavinthal joined UCLA in 2000 and has worked on issues related to affirmative action, equity, organizational climate, and disparate impact. Between 2010 and 2013, she served on the Board of the Greater Los Angeles Industry Liaison Group (LAILG).

  • carmen toscano
    Carmen Toscano
    Administrative Assistant for Assistant Vice Chancellor Chandra Bhatnagar

    Ms. Toscano graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History. Prior to joining the team, she was a National Finance Assistant for the Biden-Harris Campaign. During her time at UCLA, she interned at the California Department of Education and was an Elementary Education Director for Amigos de UCLA, a student-run service organization. She is delighted to return to UCLA and support EDI’s mission!

Civil Rights Office Unit

Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO)

The Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO) is responsible for assessing and investigating reports of discrimination or harassment based on race, ancestry, national origin, disability, religion, age, and other categories protected by law and University policy brought against academic personnel.

Email: dpo@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 794-1232

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  • dion raymond
    Dion-Cherie Raymond
    DPO Director

    Dion Raymond is a lawyer who earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from UCLA and her Juris Doctorate from UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Ms. Raymond began her professional career with the Law Offices of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. as a litigator and trial attorney in civil rights law, employment, sexual harassment and insurance defense. In 1990, Ms. Raymond represented the estate of former Councilman Gilbert W. Lindsay, and in her first trial, obtained a favorable jury verdict for $235,000 for undue influence in April 1992. Ms. Raymond’s legal experience also includes employment defense, defense of the indigent for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, mental health, and anti-discrimination training.

    Ms. Raymond’s choice to enter the legal profession was seeded and inspired by her activism as an undergraduate at UCLA where she simultaneously held the positions of Black Student Alliance (BSA, now ASU) chair and Communications Board chairperson. That same year, Ms. Raymond was a part of student and community leadership that organized a boycott of classes and a mass student protest calling on the University of California to divest from companies doing business in apartheid South Africa. Drawing as many as 3,000 – 4,000 individuals, the Los Angeles Times reported that UCLA administrators said it was the largest student protest on campus since the Vietnam War. Ms. Raymond later went on to participate in the Los Angeles chapter of the Free South Africa Movement. In law school, Ms. Raymond was an active member of the Black Law Student’s Association (BLSA), taught in the Street Law Program, and was invited to teach in the Street Law Court Program, which was offered to first-time youthful offenders in lieu of a juvenile record.

    Recognizing the University’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, Ms. Raymond also supports other campus stakeholders in this mission through activities such as Bruin Day, the Afrikan Graduation, and the Black Staff and Faculty Association. As an LGBTQ Resource Center Ally, Ms. Raymond has arranged for DPO and EDI-wide ally trainings. Most recently, Ms. Raymond was an invited speaker for the 2016 and 2017 Black Convocations, the 2018 keynote speaker for UCLA’s annual MLK Remembrance Day, a 2018 speaker and panelist for the UCLA Career Center’s “Careers Beyond the Courtroom” program, a panelist for ASU’s “Black by Popular Demand” for parents of newly admitted Black freshman, and a speaker and panelist along with professors Brenda Stevenson and Funmilola Fagbamila for the 2018 African American Studies-History Departments’ joint Black History Month Program, “Why Black Women’s Lives and Histories Matter.”

    Ms. Raymond is an active member of the California State Bar, a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators, the UCLA Black Alumni Association (UBAA), Black Women Lawyers (BWL), and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. A UCLA legacy, Ms. Raymond comes from a Bruin family which includes her son.

Civil Rights Office Unit

Staff, Diversity & Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Office (SD&C)

The Staff Diversity & Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Office (SD&C) is responsible for assessing and investigating reports of all forms of discrimination or harassment protected by law and University policy brought against staff.

Email: staffdiversity@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 794-0691

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  • adriana ovalle-stevenson
    Adriana Ovalle Stevenson
    SD&C Interim Director

    Ms. Ovalle Stevenson joined SD&C in 2018. Prior to joining SD&C, Adriana had worked for two large public universities conducting investigations into civil rights complaints. Adriana earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and her law degree from Arizona State University.

  • Anashe Hakopiannik
    Office Manager
  • Britt Harmssen
    Complaint Resolution Officer
  • Rachel Rappaport
  • Vanessa Saucedo
    Project Specialist

    Vanessa joined EDI in the latter part of 2020. Prior to this role, she was with the Housing & Hospitality team at Luskin and on the hill as well as the CPR instructor for those areas. Vanessa extensively worked for notable and highly regarded hotels in the hospitality industry before coming to UCLA and studied at Johnson & Wales for Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Management.

  • Jeannette E. Valdivia
    Complaint Resolution Officer/Investigator

    Ms. Valdivia had been employed at SD&C as an investigator since 2012. Prior to returning to her alma mater, Jeannette represented national corporations in employee/employer litigation matters.

Civil Rights Office Unit

Title IX Office (T9)

The Title IX Office (T9) is responsible for assessing and investigating reports of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence brought against any member of the campus community.

Email: titleix@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 206-3476

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  • mohammed cato
    Mohammed Cato
    Title IX Director

    Raised in southern California, Mr. Cato received his bachelor’s degree from U.C. Irvine before obtaining a J.D. and Master’s in Urban Planning here at UCLA. From 2014-2017, Mr. Cato served as the Assistant Director of the Equal Opportunity Office and Deputy Title IX Coordinator at Western Washington University. Prior to this post, Mr. Cato spent multiple years working directly with students in Western Washington University’s Department of Residence Life.

  • candi smiley
    Candi Smiley
    Deputy Title IX Director

    Ms. Smiley joined UCLA’s Title IX Office in 2019 with extensive Title IX experience. Prior to joining the team, Ms. Smiley served as the Title IX Coordinator for Howard University. During her tenure there, Ms. Smiley conducted and oversaw countless investigations, created the curriculum for and facilitated hundreds of trainings, and worked with numerous campus partners to develop strategic plans and create programming with the ultimate goal of achieving an educational environment free of harassment and discrimination. Ms. Smiley earned her Juris Doctorate from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

  • Cathy Bell
    Administrative Analyst

    Ms. Bell came to UCLA in 1998 working in the Division of Geriatrics. In 2000 she started working in the Title IX/Sexual Harassment Prevention Office. Cathy is the first contact person for the university community and outside entities doing business with the Title IX office. She manages highly sensitive, confidential information, directs calls and requests to the appropriate Title IX staff members, manages the Title IX Director’s calendar, researches data and coordinates responses with the Title IX Director, Complaint Resolution Officer and Response Team Coordinator.

  • Jessica Corona
    Special Assistant

    Ms. Corona is the Title IX Office’s Special Assistant. Ms. Corona graduated from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) where she majored in Sociology and double minored in English and Business Management. Upon graduation, Ms. Corona interned with the Legal Aid Society of Orange County’s Fund Development department, and shortly thereafter, attended and graduated from Notre Dame Law School, receiving her JD. Upon graduation, Ms. Corona had a fellowship with the California Charter School Association, researching education law matters and the growing demographic of charter schools and their role in education. Ms. Corona has worked with different nonprofits throughout Southern California, always aspiring to find a way to make a difference and contribute to those in need. In her last role as the Program Assistant with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Ms. Corona managed data, conducted client intakes, ran the intern program, assisted with office management, and served as the first contact for families looking for immigration assistance.

  • Agustin Corral

    Mr. Corral joined the Title IX Office in 2019 with extensive labor relations and investigatory experience. Most recently, while employed with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), Mr. Corral led efforts to revamp LACOE’s Title IX practices, rewriting LACOE’s Title IX and Sexual Harassment policies, training LACOE school administrators on conducting prompt and equitable Title IX investigations, and providing Title IX technical assistance to county districts. Mr. Corral previously worked as a Labor Relations Advocate for a public sector union, in homelessness prevention programs at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and in a litigation project for higher education access at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he investigated K-12 pipeline inequities and supported litigation aimed at removing boundaries to higher education for low-income and minority students. Mr. Corral graduated from the California State University, Long Beach, with a degree in English Literature.

  • Dennis DePalma

    Mr. DePalma joined the Title IX Office in 2017 as a Special Assistant. Prior to joining the Title IX Office, Mr. DePalma spent seventeen years as an employment law specialist at a variety of firms, including the firms of Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Ogletree Deakins LLP. As an employment litigator, he conducted investigations into discrimination and harassment matters, trained supervisors and other personnel about anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws and policies, developed anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and practices, and mediated and resolved discrimination and harassment disputes, in addition to other matters. Mr. DePalma earned bachelor’s degrees in English and Political Science from Bradley University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California.

  • Vanessa Himeles

    Ms. Himeles joined the Title IX Office in 2020. Prior to joining the Title IX Office, she worked as a neutral Investigator at Public Interest Investigations, Inc. conducting third-party Title IX and workplace investigations. She is also an Association of Workplace Investigators Certificate Holder (SWI-CH). An attorney licensed to practice in California, Himeles has represented employees in workplace claims of sexual harassment and discrimination, including cases based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and retaliation. Her legal practice also involved the area of consumer protection. Previously, she served as a fellow for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Legal Clinic, working with clients of the Anti-Violence Project. While attending Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Himeles spent two years working to exonerate those wrongfully convicted as part of Loyola’s Project for the Innocent. She earned her bachelor’s degree from University of California, San Diego, and her law degree from Loyola.

  • Crystal Thomas Lipa
    Response Team Coordinator

    Ms. Lipa is the Title IX Response Team Coordinator. Prior to joining the team, Ms. Lipa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in Gender Studies with a minor in Philosophy. Her previous career roles in the legal industry include over 15 years of civil and employment litigation experience, and as a teaching assistant as a TRAC fellow. While at UCLA, Ms. Lipa led operations to establish and collaborate with campus faculty, staff, and underrepresented and vulnerable students to expand resources and accessibility. In response to qualitative and quantitative data, Ms. Lipa spearheaded an annual symposium to promote inclusivity concentrated on students with dependents. She has bridged her experience with key stakeholders to communicate the nontraditional student experience initiating numerous policy proposals.

  • Sara Tropea

    Ms. Tropea joined the Title IX Office in 2019. Prior to joining the team, she worked as an Investigator at Public Interest Investigations conducting workplace and Title IX investigations. Ms. Tropea is an attorney, who spent ten years litigating personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, employment, and commercial matters, before turning her focus to investigations. Throughout her career, Ms. Tropea has been active in providing pro bono legal services; she has represented clients seeking asylum and in unlawful detainer matters, volunteered as a legal observer for Election Protection, and provided limited scope representation at clinics for domestic violence survivors, veterans, and DACA recipients. Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Tropea worked in national politics; she worked at EMILY’s List helping to elect women to office, and served as a staff assistant on Capitol Hill and an intern at the White House. Ms. Tropea earned her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law.