MRC is an Invaluable Resource

To the Editors:

During one of last week’s general faculty meetings, it was announced that due to Oberlin College’s 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 Women’s Speaker Series, which works to educate the entire campus on Indigenous issues.
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 community’s 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.

AAA co-chairs
–Jane Lee
College junior
–Shahana Siddiqui
College sophomore
SASA chair
–Shruti Sasidharan
College junior
OKSA co-chair
–Julie Kim
double-degree senior
FASA co-chairs
–Sharon Tantoco
College senior
–Mindy Blakney
College junior
CSA co-chairs
–William Dao
College junior
–Tiffany Foo
College senior
ZAMI member
–Julie Dulani
College sophomore


April 19
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