Alex-Assensoh writes on the virtue of knowing when to say no

Yvette Alex-Assensoh

Saying no is not always an easy thing to do. And for women of color in academia it’s often even harder — natural reluctance is reinforced by concern it might affect their careers.

That’s the topic Yvette Alex-Assensoh, UO vice president for equity and inclusion, tackled in a commentary for Inside Higher Ed.

“Many feel there is an unwritten rule that a no is an automatic strike on their reputations, a scarlet letter that can be used later as an excuse to deny promotions, exclude us from social networks or even justify separation from the university,” she said.

However, Alex-Assensoh shared five tactics to help make sure the decision to say yes or no is beneficial. They include knowing where the opportunity would fit in with your life plan, taking time to process and making a list. Alex-Assensoh says these tactics can help women of color avoid becoming overworked.

“As faculty women of color,” she said, “we must remind ourselves and demonstrate to our colleagues that we value people for who they are, not just what they do. There will always be more work. Instead of pressuring each other to work like machines, we can serve as models of love, authenticity, empathy and courage.”

To read the full article, and see the rest of her tactics, see “Getting to No.”

Alex-Assensoh has been in her position at the UO since 2012. She provides leadership to the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Center on Diversity and Community and the Center on Multicultural Academic Excellence.