Save the Multicultural Program Coordinator Position at Cardinal Stritch University
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The student body at Cardinal Stritch University is concerned for the future of the Multicultural Program Coordinator position. It has come to our attention that the program coordinator for this department has recently left her position as of Friday, February 2nd, 2018. As students of Cardinal Stritch University we believe that it is highly imperative that the University sees the importance in keeping this position open and therefore considers rehiring someone for this position but also sees the urgency in this matter and does so quickly. Students of color are especially directly impacted by this decision which is why we cannot afford to brush this off. According to the University’s vision statement “the University encourages academic excellence along with intellectual, spiritual, and social growth among its entire community – faculty, staff, and students of all ages, faiths, and ethnic backgrounds”. According to Stritch’s demographics found on the official website, as of the Fall of 2016, 19.5% of Black or African American students make up the student population along with Hispanic/Latino students who make up 13.8% and Asians who make 2.9%. The Multicultural Center is a place where students of color can go to for resources which contribute to their academic success, most of which are first-generation college students. Not only do students of color benefit from the programs put forth by this office but so does the community as a whole. This office has also served as a safe space for many students which is important for students who come from different ethnic backgrounds. Northwestern University among other institutions agree that safe spaces are essential to ensure a safe learning environment for students (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-to-create-inclusive-campus-communities-first-create-safe-places/2016/01/15/069f3a66-bb94-11e5-829c-26ffb874a18d_story.html?utm_term=.ab8b597d148 Although the multicultural office is one among other departments doing essential work in terms of diversity and inclusion we still believe it is not enough. We are aware of other universities such as Marquette that have the Intercultural center and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center (http://www.marquette.edu/intercultural/ and UW-Milwaukee who have specific departments made for groups of students who come from all different backgrounds and ethnicities such as the Roberto Hernandez Center (RHC), the Southeast Asian American Student Services (SAASS), and the African American Student Academic Services (AASAS) among others. (http://uwm.edu/studenthandbook/student-resources/centers-services/. We ask that you truly take into consideration the amazing programs this department has been able to put forth because we had a person in that role willing to listen and amplify the voices of us as minoritized students. We also understand that this role is fairly new and past students advocated long and hard for this to exist so seeing that Stritch is considering not having this department continue makes us all weary of the ways that it's going to affect students who really depend on this office and the work it has provided. We cannot conclude without mentioning the importance of the Franciscan values that we’ve all come to live by as Stritch students. One of the values we want to highlight is ‘creating a caring community’. The Multicultural office has been that safe space and caring community for many students here at Cardinal Stritch University. It reminds us that we belong here and empowers us to believe in ourselves. It also reminds us of our potential and not only helps us continue school but succeed at it. This position has offered their students support in many areas and seeing this position go away will leave many current and prospective students struggling and it will do a disservice to it’s underserved students and to the entire Stritch community. Departments such as these are so essential and we cannot stress that enough. They help us as students of color and as first-generation college students survive these institutions that often times feel like were not built for us. Lastly, we ask that you may kindly reconsider the University’s decision of not rehiring someone for this position and to sit with us, students, in a hearing session where we can have a conversation about why we believe this role is important to us and the impact it has had in our own personal journeys at Stritch. We ask this for our students, for our dreamers and undocumented students, for the underserved and for anyone who has been impacted by the work of this department which has been a great majority of the Stritch population such as the faculty, staff and even the outside community.
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