Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

InterLinked: Triangle Club Changes, Reflections on MOSAIC

Annabelle DeGuzman-Carino

While the end of the academic year signals an air of conclusiveness for students, one aspect of the Seattle University campus remained undetermined as students fell into the early summer days of 2023. The Office for Multicultural Affairs (OMA) and Student Success and Outreach (SSO), two organizations that sought to support students of marginalized identities on campus, were set to merge

By June, student employees had been hired with still ambiguous job descriptions. A new name hadn’t yet been selected. 

Amidst uncertainty, some students were concerned that the merger signaled a singular approach from the university toward supporting those with marginalized identities, and could result in particularly BIPOC students being excluded from the newly-conjoined spaces.

Other members of the organizations remained hopeful that the shift would offer a more centralized and communal student experience by forming a hub of resources and support for students. In September, the merger was announced under the name “Meaningful Opportunities for Student Access, Inclusion, and Community,” or MOSAIC, with a launch party Sept. 20 as classes began.  

Third-year Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies Major Alex Takemoto, who closed out the 2022-2023 academic year as a peer mentor as part of OMA’s Connection Leadership Program, had been rehired by SSO for the coming fall. At the time, they weren’t sure in what capacity or department they’d be working.

“At the beginning of the year, that was a bit of a rocky start because a lot of people were being brought on… The day-to-day stuff was a lot less straightforward,” Takemoto said.

These uncertainties included what resources would be available in each room, such as the machine for reading ID card swipes that students would be prompted toward whenever they entered a space.

Since then, they’ve spent their time as a MOSAIC Community Ambassador in the Pride Link on the third floor of the Student Center. Their office is one of six Links, or physical spaces for students on campus that cater to unique identities. The MOSAIC Center emphasizes that the Links are available to anyone, but can particularly serve as spaces for those with shared lived experiences to find and connect with one another.

Regardless of any initial growing pains, Takemoto emphasized the fulfillment they feel in their role with MOSAIC.

“This is my first on-campus job, so I’m also adjusting to being in a work role. I love my supervisor, I love my coworkers… so far it’s been an excuse to get all my favorite people in one place,” Takemoto said.

While MOSAIC operates the physical location of a Link—ensuring staff presence, managing bookings and reservations, funding and purchasing resources—non-MOSAIC affiliated individuals and clubs alike are welcome to utilize those spaces as well.

One such group is the Triangle Club, a student organization for the queer and ally community. They had been holding weekly meetings in the Intercultural Link—which particularly seeks to support BIPOC and undocumented students—since before the merge. But, part way through the 2023-2024 academic year, the club decided to move out of the Intercultural Link.

Camryn Mata, the financial officer for the Triangle Club, recounted the process of the club switching from conducting meetings in the Intercultural Link to the Pride Link. He mentioned there had been a comment from a MOSAIC staff member present in the Intercultural Link on how the Triangle Club was a majority white club meeting in a space that caters toward BIPOC students.

“The reason that we left is because we understood that it’s a genuine concern. We don’t want to take away someone else’s space,” Mata said.

As is often the case with any operational transition, there have been some difficulties with the change—both the club’s change in location and OMA’s and SSO’s shift to MOSAIC. Maya Walthall, a second-year political science major who is serving as the club’s current president, recounted these difficulties.

“I was very ok with moving to make sure that the members of the club were in a space that felt safe for them and that they were comfortable in, and that the people who needed to use the Intercultural Link also had that place for them,” Walthall said. “The Intercultural Link is where we were originally meeting, we’ve been meeting there as long as I’ve been a member of the club. I think it’s been redefined a little bit with OMA transitioning to MOSAIC.”

While the Intercultural Link and the Pride Link are just across the hall from one another, there are also differences in amenities available and size of the space. Upon their move, the officers of the Triangle Club recounted requesting additional resources for the Pride Link, such as a television, projector and additional seating options. 

However, Triangle Club Event Manager Aedan McCall noted that there were logistical issues and unnoted interruptions with requesting resources as MOSAIC was simultaneously undergoing a transitional period.

“The tricky part with MOSAIC is that because of all of this change happening at once, [the office] mentioned to us that a lot of documentation is inconsistent,” McCall said, regarding resource requests made in a meeting with MOSAIC staff. “It feels, for better or worse, that there was never this information recorded anywhere formal or anywhere that got checked.” 

Takemoto also observed the discrepancy in spaces and resources across Links on campus, but offered their own perspective on these variances.

“We don’t have a toaster, we don’t have a microwave, we don’t have a sink, so it’s a lot different than other Link experiences. In other Links, they have to wash dishes that people use, but we don’t have any dishes. They have to unload the dishwasher, they have to make sure there’s coffee pots. I don’t have to worry about any of that,” Takemoto said.

An additional change between the process of using a Link space last academic year and this year is the introduction of card swipes. Just as a student would swipe their ID when entering a building or checking into an event, Links and other campus areas now request the same.

McCall explained that the club officers were unaware of the new policy until they walked into the Intercultural Link in the fall of 2023 for their first meeting. 

“We walked in and there was this person there who had the card swipe and said, ‘If you want to use this space, then we ask that you swipe your card so that we know how many people are using this space.’ I don’t know if we’ve ever been told that you don’t have to swipe,” McCall said.

Other club officers were also concerned with the safety and privacy of information being gathered based on card swipes, though they acknowledged that all MOSAIC employees who handle that data are FERPA trained. 

“Starting this year we have had to swipe in every time we go into one of the Links. We were a little concerned about that, just because we are a club of queer students and we know that not all of our students are out to various people in their lives, and so we had a little bit of concern about who that was being shared with and if it was necessary for us to do those scan-ins,” Walthall said.

Sarah Torset, a fifth-year physics major and officer for the Triangle Club, hoped that the option for students to decline to swipe in would be clarified.

“I was first concerned about the card swiping because I want the anonymity of our club members to be first and foremost, and the definition of our club being a safe space is the safety of it. The safety of it comes with not disclosing who comes into our club unless it’s voluntary,” Torset said. 

Walthall also expressed discomfort at the idea that card swipes would be used to collect demographic information for funding, programming or marketing events. Additionally, she was concerned that relying solely on Triangle Club meetings to gauge student interest in queer-centered events would both exclude students who belonged to other LGBTQ+ aligned organizations and underestimate the total count.

Takemoto acknowledged the fears that students may have about their ID card swipes being used to track demographic and funding information, but felt that it was equivalent to other campus locations where swipes are used. 

“I do get the anxiety that comes with ‘I’m being kind of tracked around campus,’ but that also happens when you enter a building. If you use the front [card swipe]…it’s like me using my specific code to get into my apartment,” Takemoto said.

They also explained that swipes are an alternative to a cipher code for the door, which would restrict the hours and availability of the Pride Link. However, the Link being open to all students after hours also carries the added risk of students disrespecting or damaging the space. 

Takemoto recounted one day in which they found the string lights in the Pride Link to be damaged, with the prongs detached and stuck in the electrical outlet, posing a fire hazard.  

Despite concerns, Takemoto hopes that the Links continue to be a space for students on campus. Of the MOSAIC merge overall, they find that it has helped unite spaces around campus and the groups who each organization catered to individually in years past.

In their own words, “It was just what made sense.” 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Genny Sheara, Editor-in-Chief

Comments (0)

All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *