Multicultural Affairs serves students while missing a coordinator

Photo by Amanda Frank/ [email protected]

The Multicultural Affairs division of the Office of Student Development, which supports students from underrepresented backgrounds, is facing a staff shortage.

While the office is normally staffed by two professionals, the coordinator of multicultural affairs position, who is in charge of programming initiatives, has been vacant since the end of the last academic year.

But this doesn’t worry Carla Cadet, assistant dean of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

“It doesn’t cause stress at all,” Cadet said. “There are lots of people working to support our initiatives: my role, a graduate assistant and two student program assistants.”

According to students, the division does well in its published vision to “foster a diverse and inclusive environment.”

“They offer a lot of opportunities and are available as a resource,”  said Alyssa Gibson, a junior in the College of Business Administration. “It’s a way to connect with other cultures on campus.”

Cadet said the office would still be sponsoring student programs, including an annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage, Multicultural Thanksgiving, McNair Scholar colloquiums and Leadership Council, where leaders from multicultural student organizations meet and discuss campus issues.

“Multicultural Affairs is still here to support students and underrepresented students through programs, supporting social and leadership programs and academics,” Cadet said. “What we were doing before, we’re continuing to do this year in terms of supporting students.”

The shortage in staff was caused by an opening in other professional opportunities for those already working in the division, but there are plans to stabilize.

“My goal is to have a consistent staff for a very long time,” Cadet said.

There was a summer search to fill the coordinator of multicultural affairs vacancy, but the division’s ideal candidate accepted an offer at another university. Instead of  hiring someone into the position who wouldn’t meet their standards for the sake of being fully staffed, the division chose quality over quantity.

“Instead of rushing, we said ‘Let’s get  people who would be a good fit for our students,’” Cadet said.

The next plan of action is to recruit during the spring semester, allowing students to be part of the interview process, Cadet said. She hopes to have another professional staff member by July 1 of next year.

With new students on campus, Multicultural Affairs also has a chance to make an impact on the freshman class.

“Multicultural Affairs does a good job bringing other cultures together,” said Erica Mallett, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences.

During orientation week, the division held a president’s lunch and invited various student organization leaders to meet and learn about the office’s goals and plans.

Cadet only has one wish for the students of Marquette.

“I would hope they continue to be involved in Multicultural Affairs as they have been in the past,” Cadet said. “Once we get a coordinator it will just add to and enhance what we are doing.”