is an Invaluable Resource
one of last weeks general faculty meetings, it was announced
that due to Oberlin Colleges budget deficit, 25 intern positions
would be terminated after this semester, four being of the Multicultural
Resource Center. Despite the recent reinstatement of the community
coordinator positions, we would like to voice our strong support
and major concerns for the future of the MRC.
The Multicultural Resource Center and the community coordinators
have been crucial to the organizing of almost every event held by
Students of Color and queer students. In addition, they act as mentors,
confidantes, and advocates for historically disenfranchised students
on this campus. They are vital to outreach and recruitment efforts
because of their ability to relate to college students, themselves
being recent college graduates. For many marginalized community
members, the MRC is one of the only student services they feel they
can utilize because of its easy accessibility and open environment.
Our own community coordinator and OC alum, kt shorb, has been the
support system for all existing Asian Pacific American organizations.
In addition to advising student-sponsored events and activities,
she attends officers and general meetings of the Asian American
Alliance, South Asian Students Association, and the Oberlin Korean
Students Association, while working closely with ZAMI (an organization
for queer people of color), Chinese Students Association, and the
Filipino American Students Association. Some of the largest and
most widely attended cultural and educational forums held on this
campus, including the OKSA Conference, APA Conference, Colors of
Rhythm, SASA film festival, and SASA cultural show, were all overseen
by kt during the past 2 years. Without her direction and supervision,
these important events would not have been possible. She has also
worked with faculty on National Academic conferences including the
East of California Conference and Siting Secularism Conference.
Notably, kt is one of the founding members of the Indigenous Womens
Speaker Series, which works to educate the entire campus on Indigenous
It is important to note that kt shorb is the only Asian Pacific
American in the Division of Student Life. By having and maintaining
the APA community coordinator position, it ensures that there will
be at least one person who would be capable of dealing with APA
issues and addressing the retention of APA students on this campus.
Although we would like to see a change in the structure of the MRC,
it should not be at the expense of the current intern positions.
In order to strengthen it, there needs to be five interns (including
an added community coordinator for Native American students) along
with multiple full-time staff members. Replacing the specific community
based interns with two or three academic professionals will ultimately
result in clumping together different identities and voices. Multiculturalism
exists when different historically disenfranchised groups can maintain
their agency, but also work together for better understanding of
power relations within the institution as well as in society. We
hope that additions will be made to the MRC staff and we believe
that Rachel Beverly, as the director, should lead any future discussions
concerning the restructuring of the office.
Through working with the many groups encompassed by the MRC, the
community coordinators have proven to be indispensable to student
life as well as to the college communitys educational experiences.
In the interest of Students of Color as well as the greater Oberlin
community, we sincerely hope the administration will take our concerns
into consideration to further the mission and goals of Oberlin College.