The Group of Six, which promotes events, discussion and community through the lens of social identities, is critically important for Tufts students looking to access the unique resources and support systems that its centers offer. The Group of Six is made up of the Africana Center, the Asian American Center, the FIRST Resource Center, the Latino Center, the LGBT Center and the Women’s Center. It is commendable that Tufts has taken steps to support first-generation, low-income and undocumented students through the establishment of the FIRST Center as the newest addition to the Group of Six. The FIRST Center was launched by the Office for Student Success and Advising (OSSA) as an effort to provide first-generation, low-income and undocumented students with a space to foster community, share experiences and promote access to social, professional and academic resources.
Despite this significant improvement to the scope of the Group of Six, there is much work to be done. There are still vacant positions in the centers’ leadership. Since the departure of former Women’s Center director K. Martinez in April, that position has yet to be filled. This lack of leadership is detrimental to campus life, considering the important role that the Women’s Center plays for many. While Fatima Blanca Munoz — a former staff assistant for both the Women’s Center and the Asian American Center — has been serving as interim program administrator for the Women’s Center, a permanent director must be hired to fully accommodate student need and to lead programming so other staff can focus on day-to-day administrative tasks. The Women’s Center is an important space that provides community, opportunities for discussion and programs that encourage student leadership on campus. Although it is necessary to take time and care when choosing a new director, finding one must be prioritized in order to provide students with stable, comprehensive support and resources.
Other Group of Six vacancies include a staff assistant position for the Latino and LGBT Centers, both of which are located at Bolles House. The hiring process for this position has been ongoing since the end of the fall 2017 semester, when former staff assistant Janin Alfonso left the role. Ensuring that the Latino and LGBT Centers are fully staffed will enable them to sponsor more educational programming, prioritize student accessibility and more effectively provide resources to the Tufts community.
The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate passed a resolution in April calling on the university to fill empty positions in the then-Group of Seven centers as soon as possible. The resolution also called on Tufts to hire a full-time director, associate director and full-time administrative assistant for each center. Adding more staff to the Group of Six would also significantly reduce the workload of existing staff and student interns, who are currently responsible for running all aspects of the centers, including fundraising, organizing educational programming and other daily operations.
Tufts must affirm its commitment to promoting diversity and creating safe, valuable community spaces for students of all identities and backgrounds. An important first step toward accomplishing this goal is to provide Group of Six centers with the staff and resources they need to effectively serve their communities.