The center for Diversity, Equity and inclusion, which contains the center for Honoring, Uniting, and Building community was left without a Coordinator of Multicultural Initiatives earlier this month when Mona El-Shahat returned to New York City to pursue her license as a clinical mental health counselor.
As former Coordinator, El-Shahat had made an event calendar with all the activities the HUB will be hosting this semester before her departure. Interim Chief Diversity Officer Portia Allie-Turco said it will take some time for the position to be filled. However, she is determined to find a worthy replacement.
“It’s sad to see somebody that valuable go,”Turco said. “I’m preparing to post a job opening, so we are looking for somebody to replace Mona’s position.”
Turco said the job opening will be posted nationally. She will be interviewing potential candidates from off campus with the hopes of finding someone who’s just right for the position. She particularly wants somebody who is highly regarded.
“I don’t want to pick just anybody,” Turco said. “I’m looking for somebody who’s going to collaborate with students and all of the clubs and [organizations]. It is also important to collaborate with staff and faculty. This is somebody who’s going to be building the relationship with all [students, staff and faculty].”
Turco said there are still going to be events hosted at the HUB despite the vacancy in the Coordinator of Multicultural Activities position.
“I’m putting together some educational workshops and peer-mentoring,” Turco said. “ We are also trying to collaborate with other campuses like Vermont and Potsdam who are interested in hosting events in the HUB. Mona’s leaving has been such a loss, but we have the potential to replace and have someone who will continue the work.”
Resident Director of Defredenberg Hall Francine Francis is another asset to the HUB.
Francis assists in the programming and provides Turco with input from PSUC students. Francis thought highly of El-Shahat as a coordinator and as a person.
“[El-Shahat] is willing to go above and beyond for her students,” Francis said. “It was known that her place and her heart was for the students. Students went to her as a trusted person where they could confide in her.”
Francis said it’s necessary to have the ability to be empathetically present with an individual, understand them and be there for them if one desires to fill Mona’s position at the HUB.
Turco said she is looking for someone who meets her high expectations and will accept nothing less. However, some students believe there will be a change in the atmosphere because of El-Shahat’s leave.
“Since she isn’t here anymore, [her departure] will have an impact on the students. I think some will not come as much because they came to see [El-Shahat],” PSUC freshman (insert name here) said. “They just won’t feel the same because she’s not around.”
PSUC students and faculty who worked with El-Shahat will miss her being a part of the community as coordinator of multicultural activities. Turco said she will find a replacement who will possess the proper standards for the Center of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the HUB and the students.