Office strives to protect diversity on campus

Temple University will be ranked No. 1 in a list of the most diverse student populations in the nation in the 2008 edition of The Princeton Review’s “The Best 366 Colleges.” The announcement was made

Temple University will be ranked No. 1 in a list of the most diverse student populations in the nation in the 2008 edition of The Princeton Review’s “The Best 366 Colleges.”
The announcement was made Monday afternoon on The Princeton Review’s Web site. The 2008 edition of The Princeton Review’s “The Best 366 Colleges” was released today.
Temple was ranked eighth in the same category last year.

Often affectionately called “Diversity University,” Temple is, to many, more than just a melting pot of various cultures.
Instead, it is viewed as a bubbling cauldron filled with countless nationalities, languages, ethnicities and traditions from around the world, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs focuses on protecting this vast diversity.

The 2-year-old department was created by former Temple President David Adamany and is an expansion of the former Office of Affirmative Action.
The OMCA is dedicated to maintaining diversity in every aspect of university life, said Rhonda Brown, associate vice president of OMCA.
The office consists of four main divisions, each run by a designated director.

“We’re concerned that as we strive to become a better institution, we remain diverse,” Brown said. “[The OMCA] allows us to look at diversity as a factor, as a driver [and] as a pillar of just about every subcategory [within] the institution.”

Students, both continuing and especially incoming, should be aware of two specific branches of the OMCA, Brown said.
The first, the Affirmative Action Compliance and Investigation sector, is a continuation and expansion of the duties once held by the Office of Affirmative Action. Through this branch, the OMCA is able to evaluate compliance with Temple’s nondiscrimination policy and investigate complaints of discrimination and abuse, Brown said.

The other, Brown said, is Student Services, which assesses Temple’s promotion of multiculturalism by working with administration, student organizations and academic departments.
This fall, Student Services will begin the Philadelphia Diamond Scholars program, a mentoring program for new and transfer students. These students, all from Philadelphia, will receive assistance and support from various undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, alumni and professionals who will serve as mentors.

The program will include lectures and workshops on topics such as time management and course load. In addition, participants will engage in self-assessment and awareness activities to aid in their academic and career goals.

“We’re hoping it’s going to help us really see how well providing support to students this way can aid in their retention and graduation,” said Tchet Dorman, director of Student Services.
Aiding students more indirectly is the Faculty and Recruitment and Retention division of the OMCA. This division ensures that faculty proportionately represents the many cultural backgrounds of students.

“It is critical that our faculty reflect the diversity of the student body,” Brown said, adding that it is helpful when students see instructors with similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
“The Temple population is so diverse, and it would be fair to everyone if each department had somebody to represent their ethnicity,” senior communications major Adrian Sperl said.
As one of the newer departments at Temple, specific roles and goals within the OMCA are continuing to be examined and defined, Dorman said.

However, when asked how the OMCA works to maintain Temple’s diversity, he said,“Our role is to try to help other departments and offices and organizations better support Temple’s mission related to diversity.”

Chesney Davis can be reached at

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