Following the departure of former intercultural programming coordinator Lena Tran, the Center for Diversity & Community held a two-hour open discussion on moving forward as a community.
About 15 students attended the discussion on Sunday.
Some topics discussed were the future of the CDC, how to move forward with event planning and addressing unwelcoming feelings in the CDC.
Adetokunbo Oredein, director of the CDC, said the meeting was a crucial step in this transition process.
“We had a vital part of our team leave and go to another part in her journey, and when a vital part of a small team leaves, people feel like it’s not going to be the same,” Oredein said.
Tran’s departure, however, was not the major point of the meeting. It wasn’t explained when or if a replacement search will begin.
“We had to just have a conversation,” said Marcus Destin, a sophomore.
One topic discussed was student involvement at the CDC.
“Everybody has their comfort zone, their comfort space, their comfort people,” Oredein said.
Destin said the CDC needs to move forward and get rid of negativity.
“How we execute things from here on out needs to be strategic, because we’re already in this box, figuratively and literally, this glass house,” he said. “Us destroying it from the inside doesn’t do any good.”
Open communication was another topic discussed.
“Sometimes our students don’t talk to each other — they talk, but they don’t talk to each other,” Oredein said. “We wanted an open forum where they could talk about how they were feeling, what they want their space to look like.”
Agustina Callegari, a junior health sciences major, said the discussion was “eye-opening.”
“To hear some of the issues that are happening surprised me because I just never knew people felt negatively,” she said. “I foresee the CDC making a more successful stride to brining more awareness of inclusivity to USD.”
Callegari said she hopes that students and administration start working together more.
“I believe it doesn’t just start with us,” she said. “The meeting last night proved that both groups are willing to fight for change, and care for the CDC immensely.”
Oredein said next steps in this process are planning more CDC events, collaborating with different student groups and having conversations.
“We need our students to know that, moving forward, it’s going to look different,” he said.
Destin said it’s imperative for students to “step up” within their organizations.
“If you really want to do something and you really want to be involved and you really want to participate in something, you’ll do it,” he said. “I just always want to make sure that people are happy and that people are comfortable.”