Czarina Ramsay Steps in As New OMA Director

Jessie+Koon+%E2%80%A2+the+spectator

Jessie Koon • the spectator

The Office of Multicultural Affairs has undergone a makeover. Relocated to the Pavilion building, Seattle University’s fresh OMA offices have open spaces where all students are encouraged to spend time. But the offices aren’t the only thing that has changed—OMA also has a new director: Czarina Ramsay.

OMA is dedicated to promoting a campus community that celebrates diversity and encourages leadership, education and cultural celebration. Ramsay said she looks forward to continuing this mission.

Ramsay previously worked at Seattle U as the Assistant Director of OMA and Resident Director of Xavier Global House, but left in 2010 to pursue other career opportunities in the Office of Intercultural Engagement at her alma mater, the University of Puget Sound. In her time away, Ramsay has gained a wealth of experience that she is excited to bring back to the
Seattle U community.

Jessie Koon • the spectator
Jessie Koon • the spectator

Seattle University’s new director of Office of Multicultural Affairs, Czarina Ramsay.

“I’m really excited…Seattle U is definitely a place that I consider home,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay said she feels that she has more ideas and goals for the Seattle U community than ever before.

“When I went back to [the University of] Puget Sound, my desire to be a part of the community again was to help shape the kind of experience I wish I had had when I was a student there,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay hopes that using the experience she has gained, she will be able to connect with the student body and further incorporate the social justice mission that Seattle U holds.

“My return to Seattle U is coming with the enthusiasm of sharing the professional I’ve become and being a part of, not only shaping the experience for our students, but also helping to continue to support philosophy and social justice advocacy—specifically for those who are coming to campus with identities that have been disenfranchised, or minoritized, and marginalized on any sort of level,” Ramsay said. “That’s what I’m here to do.”

OMA offers a number of programs and events that are open to the entire student body including,but not limited to, the Martin Luther King celebration on Jan. 19 and OMA Speaks, a student forum and discussion group, which takes place on the first Thursday of every month.

Ramsay’s return to Seattle U has been met with a great deal of excitement from students and faculty alike. Along with the aesthetic changes, the arrival of a new director brings a bounty of new ideas to OMA.

“I’m really looking forward to this year and what’s going to happen with Czarina, because she has a lot to offer to the school,” said Jennifer Cruz, a senior at Seattle U who has worked in the OMA offices throughout her
time here.

Ramsay’s return to OMA comes at a time of transition, as the department adjusts to a new space and brings in a number of new faces. While returning to Seattle U during a time of intense change could be seen as a challenge, Ramsay sees it is an opportunity to further connect with students.

The new space, located in the Student Development Innovation Center in Pavilion 180, has an open floor plan, plenty of seating and an abundance of friendly faces.

“Now students will just come and hang out in here, which is really fun to see,” Cruz said.

Dean of Students Darrell Goodwin, who served as the interim Director of OMA before Ramsay’s return, is also enthusiastic about the new location of OMA.

“The key elements of the Pavilion are the learning pods. There’s a living room, there’s an ability to do presentations out in the lobby for students…What we’re trying to do is give students an opportunity to utilize the Pavilion space in a greater way and have access to the resources that are currently located in this building,” Goodwin said.

Last year in April, there was talk about merging the International Student Center with the Office of Multicultural Affairs. After some dialogue in May and June, those plans have been put on hold to encourage more conversation between students, administration and the community as a whole.

“The decision to not merge the offices was to give us the amount of time that our students were requesting for our students to say ‘Can we talk more about it, can we have a more deliberative process, can we offer some other alternatives?” Goodwin said.

This added time will allow Ramsay to assemble a task force of students, faculty and staff, combined with the information gathered from the Campus Climate Survey. The survey was given out in January and February of 2015, and the results will be presented on Oct. 22. The task force will use this information to discuss how the offices can best meet the needs of students and community members at Seattle U.

“This task force will help us discern ‘where do we go?’” Goodwin said. “The conversation is really much larger than the merging of two offices.”

In short, no decisions have been made about the merger. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to be involved in the discussion moving forward.

For now, Ramsay is looking forward to continued engagement with the Seattle U community in conversations and programs concerning multiculturalism.

Ramsay, Goodwin and Cruz all shared a similar sentiment: OMA is for everyone.

All students are encouraged to become involved with OMA and take part in its programs.

“I’m really excited to bring my ideas and energy to the community again,” Ramsay said. “If there’s anything that I hope to offer the SU Community, it’s just the way that we as a community can be really intentional about the kind of environment we create for one another to be a part of.”

Samantha may be reached at [email protected]