The Issue: Prentice Ashford is leaving ACU, which means OMA director position is open.
Our Take: We believe that the new OMA director must work to create a space for historically underrepresented minorities.
As Prentice Ashford, current Director of OMA, leaves, the university must find somebody to fill the position. The mission of the Office of Multicultural Affairs is “to support the overall success and persistence of ethnic and historically underrepresented students at Abilene Christian University.” It is essential that the university finds somebody to fill this role who is committed to creating a mutual understanding and respect for every student’s personal culture.
The editorial board believes that whoever succeeds Ashford should have the same enthusiasm, understanding and care for students that he has always had. One of the things that made Ashford such a great director was his ability to relate to students and help them through times of hardship. In a time where inequality is felt so strongly, the university must understand that the new director should be somebody every student can go to for problems, whether they concern culture and race or not.
Roughly 40 percent of our students identify as an ethnic minority, but staff and leadership on our campus does not reflect that same diversity. It is more important now than ever for students to have a director who understands their struggles and can counsel students through them. While race does not have to play a part in the decision for the new director, we do believe that the new director must represent students who lack a voice on campus.
Our university is a hub for international culture and tradition. Whether it’s the African Students Association, Hispanos Unidos or Black Students Association, our students embrace their culture in any way they can, and we must have a director who supports every notion of representation of one’s own identity. Culture, identity and tradition must never be silenced on campus. The director of OMA must be able to prepare students to express their diversity in a way that creates a respect and understanding for culture on and off our campus.
It is undoubtedly sad to see Prentice Ashford leaving ACU, but as we wish him well in his future, we welcome a new director to continue on the same mission that OMA and Mr. Ashford have been pursuing in our past.