Possible overhaul for diversity, inclusion

By on April 8, 2009

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is a lonely place nowadays, according to student worker Aris Mantopolous. Since the departure of Tyrone Black, former director of multicultural affairs, the phone rarely rings and company is hard to come by.

“When Tyrone was here, the phone would be ringing off the hook,” Mantopoulos said. “Now, I could go the whole afternoon without having the phone ring.”

But big things could be in store for multicultural affairs at Quinnipiac. Mark Thompson, senior vice president for academic and student affairs, spoke of a possible vice-presidential position in the near future.

“Continuing to build diversity on campus is an extremely important initiative at Quinnipiac,” Thompson said. “That is why the university is taking this opportunity to carefully review the responsibilities of the vacant director of multicultural affairs position and work to create a higher-level position that would have broader responsibility for all of the university’s diversity initiatives.”

Thompson joined Manuel Carreiro, vice president and dean of students, at yesterday’s Student Diversity Board (SDB) meeting to discuss the possibilities.

“At higher education institutions, having a person who directly teaches students about diversity and multiculturalism is vital,” SDB Vice-President Paden Livingston said. “There’s a reason why students grow more educated about those issues, because they have someone in place to educate on those issues. Right now it’s not here.”

Tyrone Black left Quinnipiac University earlier this semester to return to Cheshire Academy as director of college counseling, a position he held before coming to Quinnipiac in 2005.

“I didn’t feel like I was part of a greater team,” Black said in The Chronicle on February 18. “People just didn’t want to have a difficult discussion.”

With the absence of Black, things have quieted down considerably, according to some.

“There’s definitely not a face for diversity inclusion right now,” Livingston, a sophomore, said. “You haven’t really seen much programming or advertising. The position being vacant has left a void, not a huge one, but a void in our college culture here that needs to be filled.”

“There’s a huge disconnect,” senior Chris Westcott, an active member of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said. “All the organizations went downhill. He was the mediator of everybody. It’s going to end up being what it was when Mr. Black came in when there was nothing going on. All the work that he’s done has gone downhill.”

Despite the void, SDB has been pleased with the work of the administration.

“We have very open communication with administration,” Livingston said. “Vice presidents Thompson and Carreiro have shown their interest, and I believe President (John) Lahey is willing to work with us, through them, as well.”

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