Diversity center opens in former quiet lounge

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Franklin College’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion moved into a new space earlier this month. 

Terri Roberts-Leonard, the director of the diversity center, said the center has been in the making for several years. 

Increasing diversity across campus and the opening of the center were two of the topics President Thomas Minar focused on in his State of the College address last Novemeber. 

The new center was designed specifically for students, staff and faculty to explore identity and culture. 

Ann Gilly, who graduated from Franklin College in 2015 and was the president of the Student Association in Support of Multiculturalism, attended the center opening on Feb. 8. 

“Spaces like the Center for Diversity are pretty standard on college campuses, so it made sense for Franklin to create one,” Gilly said. “These spaces make visible that a campus is committed to diversity and inclusion and offer students a safe space that they can claim and use to meet, do homework, or whatever.” 

Gilly said she’s excited the school has finally received a center like this. 

“I’m a little jealous I’m not there to use it,” Gilly said. “But I hope Franklin — meaning students, faculty, staff, administration, everyone — is encouraged to continue furthering its commitment to education of issues of diversity and inclusion and making campus a welcoming and safe space for everyone, particularly in terms of minority students who need the support.” 

The center is located on the second floor of the Napolitan Student Center where the quiet lounge was located in previous semesters. 

When no events or programs are scheduled in the space, students can use the center for studying — just like they did in the past. 

Sophomore Austin Kitchen said he has high expectations that the new center will help the diversity office reach students more easily. He also said he thinks the center will help students, as well. 

“I would love to see students, who may be intimidated at the thought of becoming involved, reaching out of their comfort zone and opening their hearts to more diversity related issues,” Kitchen said. 

New programs and events are planned to be held at the center throughout the spring semester. 

Some of the new events and programs include weekly study tables, extended “crunch time” study tables throughout finals week, and collaborating with the career services department to create an event that focuses on helping underrepresented students with job searching.

About Ashley Steeb 21 Articles
Ashley Steeb is a news and opinion writer for The Franklin. She is a multimedia journalism major with a history minor. Ashley has worked as a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com and covered the 2016 Republican National Convention.

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