By Felicia Hou
Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole has announced the formation of a short-term committee of faculty, senior staff members and students who will advise her on the creation of new community centers.
This follows efforts by several campus communities to get their own community center or another formal, permanent community space. Seven such centers, oriented around different gender, sexual, ethnic, racial and religious identities, already exist on campus.
Brubaker-Cole said that in informal discussions, she has heard members of several groups express that they wish to feel valued by the University and, accordingly, to receive their own community center or dedicated space.
According to Stanford News, “the VPSA (Vice Provost for Student Affairs) Advisory Group on Centers of Community and Belonging for Students will explore community needs and desires while taking into account the historical and cultural origins of existing centers, as well as opportunities and future considerations related to belonging and diversity.”
The group will meet with relevant stakeholders, including community center leaders and staff who are experts in facilitating diverse and inclusive communities. Other individuals will be able to submit input through an online forum.
The committee is set to work throughout this spring quarter and will possibly carry over into the beginning of summer.
Members of the advisory panel include Assistant Professor of Education Anthony Antonio M.S. ’92, Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Education in the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education Anika Green, history professor Allyson Hobbs, English professor Paula Moya and political science professor Rob Reich Ph.D. ’98.
Two students will also be chosen by the ASSU Nominations Commission to serve on the committee. The panel will be overseen by Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Residential Education Deborah Golder, while Associate Dean of Residential Education Jennifer Calvert will staff the committee.
Administrators and students alike hold high hopes for the panel.
“The allocation of campus space is a challenging one, particularly for students who come together around and across a range of identities,” said Student Affairs Director of Communications and Web Strategy Elaine Ray. “We want to give the advisory group broad latitude to explore these issues and gather feedback without prejudgment. We look forward to sharing their findings when their work is completed.”
Markaz community member Jana Kholy ’20 also sees the development as an appropriate response to past concerns about the conferral of community center status.
“I had been aware that several communities have been requesting community centers, and I think that this panel is a great way to make the process more transparent,” Kholy said. “I think the panel is an excellent way to assess what the needs of a community are and how they’re currently being met and if alternatives to physical space can help address those needs.”
Contact Felicia Hou at fhou ‘at’ stanford.edu.