DePaul’s new plan to serve diverse student populations

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The Center for Identity, Inclusion and Social Change, closed on Aug. 15, but DePaul has a new approach to continue supporting its diverse student populations.  The Center’s focus was on intersectional social justice programming and education, providing resources for marginalized students for about 20 years since January 1996, according to The Center’s website. The services The Center once provided have been moved to the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS).

Over the summer, a more general space to accommodate DePaul’s mix of students was designed. According to Gene Zdziarski, vice president for Student Affairs, the space in the O’Connell building at DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus has become the new home for OMSS. Three identity-specific centers have been established, dedicated to serving African-American, Latinx and LGBTQ students, along with the addition of a specific point of contact for undocumented students.

“Each self-contained center will function as a hub for an identity specific charge to connect students with institutional resources, create a community space, and provide educational programs,” wrote Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider.

The centers were in response to feedback and requests from students. It began when the Black Student Association requested that DePaul establish a center for its African-American students to provide an opportunity to share a common culture space. The changes for the Center for Identity, Inclusion and Social Change to be turned into three individual centers is the university’s approach to accomplish a better way to assist DePaul students within limited resources. If interest for a center for other defined student groups is demonstrated, additional centers can be created.

Each center will be staffed with full-time staff, whether professional, graduate assistants and/or student workers. Staff who worked for the Center for Identity, Inclusion and Social Change will receive priority for any open positions. “A professional staff member will coordinate programming to address the intersectional nature of identities through collaboration across the centers, as well as work with Men of Color (MOC), Women Empowered (WE) and Providing Access through Holistic Support (PATHS) programs,” wrote Rev. Holtschneider.

Along with full staffing for the three centers, Student Affairs has assigned the Associate Director of Multicultural Student Success as the point-of-contact for undocumented students.