Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, announced that there will be an increase in staffing in the University’s advocacy and resource centers at Thursday’s Student Assembly meeting.
Lombardi said that since the beginning of his term, there has been a “need of additional front-line staff to support students.”
The specific areas for employment are yet to be determined, but Lombardi said he plans “to identify the exact areas these staff will be employed based on where they are needed the most.”
Some students leaders in diversity and advocacy groups said they approve of this effort and agreed that these centers have been understaffed in the past.
“The staff who lead [the centers] help ground our communities, especially with regards to individual students and student organizations,” said Linda He ’16, president of Cornell Asian Pacific Islander Student Union.
According to He, one staff member leads each center, a sizable responsibility which includes tasks like interacting with alumni and handling difficult situations.
“They are also responsible for so many things such as crisis management or alumni engagement that they can’t possibly be directing a center or supporting a community all on their own,” she said.
He added that she does not think it is fair to give one person so much responsibility without the assistance of any additional staff.
“It is just not possible — or fair — to put all of these responsibilities on one person without costs, whether it is costs incurred by the community, the students or the center directors,” He said.
Maria Chak ’18, S.A. vice president for outreach and minority at large, said she believes the resource centers play a significant role in providing a space for students to voice their concerns. However, she added that they cannot function properly if centers are understaffed.
Eleanor Reppy ’17, president of Haven: the LGBTQ Student Union, said a larger staff is necessary to implement policy changes and increase the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community.
“There has been significantly more to do and no more people to do it,” Reppy said.
Reppy expects that additional staff will extend support through the advocacy centers and “expand programming and trainings to more people.”
Lombardi said he hopes additional staff members “will help to further expand and accelerate our goal of fostering a more inclusive campus environment, while providing additional direct support to students in the centers.”
Chak added that Lombardi’s plan to hire four more staff to the advocacy and diversity centers is a step toward addressing larger campus issues.
“Lombardi’s plan is a great first step towards creating an inclusive campus community,” Chak said.
Lombardi said he anticipates that new employee recruitment for these centers will begin early in the spring semester and added that students will be “heavily involved” in the process.