Students and faculty are excited for a fresh start in the Center for Diversity and Community after a year of leadership struggles.
After a semester of having no director or programming coordinator, Laura Chandler was hired as the CDC director last April, and James Cooper was hired as the program coordinator earlier this month. They are both excited to be starting their first semesters in the CDC.
Chandler said although she hopes to work on more social justice outreach and education, she is dedicated to keeping the CDC comfortable for students.
“It will continue to be a home away from home for students. That is the way I see the center. It is a student space,” Chandler said. “It is a space for them to relax, to socialize, to study, to stop in and have lunch, to catch up with their friends, so my commitment is to keeping it that kind of space for students.”
Cooper said one of his goals is to make the CDC a place for everyone on campus.
“This is a space for all students, not just those from marginalized communities,” Cooper said. “Our goal really is to create an innovative and productive space for everybody on campus. We can’t be diverse if we’re just up here hiding.”
Marcus Destin, a transfer junior communications studies major and a student leader in the CDC, said administration really listened to student concerns during the hiring process.
“We were having issues with administrative-student transparency,” he said. “The things that administration did this year was they really made sure the students’ voice was heard when it came to hiring Dr. Chandler.
Destin said adding students into the hiring process helped the administration make the right decisions.
“I know they made the right decision because Dr. Chandler comes in and she just flows like water…she is easy to work with,” Destin said.
Saeed Debor, senior business marketing major and a student leader in the CDC, said he has been very impressed with how much Chandler and Cooper ask for feedback and listen to the students.
“Listening to students is the most important thing,” he said. “The university is all based on students, so when you work for the university you basically work for the students.”