MOSAIC takes a one-way trip to Clark Student Center 194

Bridget Reilly, Editor in Chief

The MSU Texas administration has responded to the Black Student Union’s demands to relocate and hire an Assistant Director for the MOSAIC Cross-Cultural Center. Former First2Go Director Cammie Dean accepted the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of the MOSAIC Cross-Cultural Center position, as the office of MOSAIC takes a one-way trip to Clark Student Center 194.

“The change that will be happening, and it’s coming up right around midterm, is that the MOSAIC office will move into CSC 194,” Dean said. “One of the reasons why I love this space is because it has those great double doors, so [it has] that nice open space which I think is particularly welcoming for any student who happens to be going by and has a question and doesn’t know where to start.”

The new location for MOSAIC Cross-Cultural Center, CSC 194. Sept. 15. (Bridget Reilly)

Along with Dean’s new position, comes Assistant Director Ruby Garrett, Program Coordinator Marcus Jones and Program Coordinator for the Priddy Scholars Joshua Ysasi.

“Cammie Dean, I hear nothing but good things about her. She is more than qualified for the position, and I am happy that we got blessed with that hire,” sports administration graduate student and member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, Edwin Bah said.

Moving to the CSC will provide the MOSAIC office more of an opportunity to engage with students and deliver on making the campus as diverse and equal as possible.

“I think that it is an opportunity for building connections and building relationships with students that don’t exist in a space that is in an isolated area,” said Dean. “In some ways, they think MOSAIC, cross-cultural, and then they think okay so brown people go there, but I think if it’s in a central location, things that are going on are more visible. It will make it more welcoming of space for anyone to engage in the cross-part of the culture.”

Further demands were made over the summer, stating the need for mandatory and extensive diversity training for faculty, staff and students. Due to these demands, University President Suzanne Shipley created a task force to tackle these issues.

“There is a diversity, equity and inclusion task force that the president put together,” Dean said. “The task force is contracted with a consultant out of the Wisconsin area who is really going to help the group develop a strategic action plan related to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

While students typically prefer change to be made quickly, Dean said changes to campus culture takes time and patience.

Opening hours for the MOSAIC Cross-Cultural Center. Sept. 15. (Bridget Reilly)

“It will take an investment of time and energy and some intentionality in the work of attracting a more diverse staff, that will require some strategic initiatives… there are not a bunch of faculty and staff or potential faculty and staff of color out there in Wichita Falls waiting for someone to ask them [to apply at MSU],” Dean said.

Along with finding more minority faculty and staff, subcommittees have been created to focus on campus climate and long term planning for diversity on campus.

“We have another [subcommittee] that will focus on campus climate, and that includes the intercultural competency training for faculty, staff and students that we will be developing a curriculum for,” Dean said. “We also have a third one for long term planning.”

While subcommittees are meeting, Bah has individual goals he would like to accomplish for this semester.

“My plans for this semester is to do the best I can to bring the younger generation up to terms so they can be conscious of the situation at hand,” Bah said. “When I was a young undergrad student, I was ignorant of a lot of the things that went on, but now that I’m older and more mature I understand what is going on and can be a guide to the future of MSU.”

The MOSAIC Cross-Cultural Center is not just for students of color, but for any minority student.

 “We have the student organizations that are culturally based or diversity-focused like PRIDE, the Black Student Union, the NAACP [and the] Organization of Hispanic Students,” Dean said. “None of those groups require that you are of that background to be part of the group. You don’t need to be part of a particular community; you just have to be a part of the solutions that they bring about.”

Due to COVID-19, the MOSAIC Cross Culture Center will stay open, however, close its doors for safety. Sept. 15. (Bridget Reilly)

One hope for MOSAIC is to create a safer space for minority students on campus to express themselves, and allies are a key component of this.

“Our allies are really important. Sometimes it’s hard being the one person in the room who is different, and they have to constantly bring that up or address particular needs or issues, and if there is an open-minded and supportive ally in the room who is willing to share that load, it makes things better for everyone,” Dean said. “Allies are a critical piece of the work when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.”