Joshua Johnson was recently appointed the new director of UCSB’s Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity.
He replaced Samuel Santos, Jr. on Monday, becoming the sixth director to take office since the center’s creation in 1999. Located on the third floor of the Student Resource Building, the RCSGD is an informational hub and asset for the university’s LGBTQ community.
Johnson said he has aspired to work at the university for several years.
“I’m definitely very excited about this appointment,” Johnson said. “It was an aspiring career goal I was hoping to achieve in the last few years. Being at an institution like UCSB seems like a perfect fit for where I want to be right now.”
The former assistant director of marketing and public relations and acting director of the LGBT Resource Center at Northern Illinois University, Johnson said he has ample experience for the role.
“I’ve worked at institutions all across the country and I’ve worked internationally too so I think I can also bring a global perspective,” he said.
Hazel Putney, co-chair of the Associated Students Queer Commission and a member of the hiring committee, said Johnson was the ideal candidate for the job.
“He just has a real combination of a lot of skills that we really need for that director position,” Putney said. “He has experience advocating on behalf of an identity and community and he also has fundraising experience. He was charismatic and friendly, which is super important for the director.”
Furthermore, Johnson said his goal is to promote solidarity between departments.
“I’ve worked at a good number of student affairs and university offices so I have a broad idea of how universities work and how to collaborate with other offices,” Johnson said. “I think that will probably be an area I can contribute to as the new director.”
Although the center is excited to embrace Johnson’s leadership, Putney said the transition will be bittersweet.
Santos — who served as director from 2007 to 2010 — will be missed by the campus community.
“He was a really awesome director,” Putney said. “He was very friendly and really helped us in regards to communication. He really served as a neutral mediation resource and he had a very bright, charismatic personality as well.”
Additionally, Putney said the staff is looking forward to seeing what Johnson’s new outlook brings to the center.
“From the get-go it’ll be a little harder for him to get acclimated, but it’s also really exciting to have someone with a fresh and new perspective,” Putney said.
The RCSGD provides numerous resources for the LGBT community and its allies. The center is home to the David Bohnett Cyber Center, which gives students access to computers and printers, and a resource library containing over 1,000 books and 300 DVDs. Additionally, the RCSGD offers outreach and education for LGBT issues and support for members of the campus community who have experienced harassment or discrimination.