Photo by Rick Yu, Photo editor
Toni Myers is now the permanent Multicultural Resource Center Director after serving as interim director since May. In addition to supporting the MRC’s goal of creating a welcoming space for students of diverse backgrounds, and identities, Myers hopes to expand the center’s community outreach and continue partnerships with other student groups.
“I want the MRC to be seen as a partner in a larger campus coalition around diversity, equity and social justice,” Myers said in The Source’s online announcement of their permanent role. “I believe that all of us at Oberlin College have a stake in supporting historically disenfranchised students. If we begin to think of ourselves as a coalition invested in student success, it makes it a lot easier for us to foster that sense of community our students are really hungry for.”
Myers first came to Oberlin as the Africana student life coordinator at the MRC during the 2013–2014 school year. After earning a Master’s degree in Education: Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies at Stanford University, they returned to Oberlin last spring.
“I was super stoked to be back,” Myers said. “My love for the students, and my love for the community, the faculty, the staff, the folks who are really committed to the things that I care about and the things I’m passionate about — it makes me really happy to come back.”
In the past year, Myers has expanded the roles of MRC coordinators to include work with the Undocumented Students Initiative, the Student Outreach to Success Initiative and expansion of social-justice education.
In terms of future plans, Myers hopes to increase outreach to the larger Oberlin and Ohio communities, hold training sessions in other campus buildings and sponsor a Social Justice Leadership ExCo next semester. The ExCo’s curriculum will include a focus on social-justice education theory and methods to foster dialogue about relevant contemporary social issues.
Latinx Student Life Coordinator Julio Reyes said he was impressed with the programs Myers has already established as interim director.
“A lot of the stuff that we’ve done this year [is] new, very new, and I’m excited to see what can happen as part of Toni’s leadership moving forward and how we can continue to both expand and really focus in on what the center does given the vision that Toni has put out there,” Reyes said.
As program director of the Undocumented Students Initiative, Reyes was glad that Myers has made a proactive effort to support his work with undocumented students.
“Having the opportunity to build out an initiative for undocumented students was really important,” Reyes said. “I had been doing that work during my first two years, and then coming into this year I could create something that could be sustained, something that was more institutional.”
In addition to taking on the permanent role as MRC director, Myers will also continue as Assistant Dean of Studies and encouraged students to utilize them as a resource in both capacities.
“I want students to be able to say, ‘I can talk to that person about my experience in college and they can understand,’ because its not been that long since I’ve graduated from undergrad,” Myers said. “How can you see me as a resource, but also someone who’s a cheerleader, who’s a coach, who has your back? … I don’t mind hanging out with y’all in Wilder Bowl and chilling on TGIF and talking about how your classes are going.”
Brian Smith, College first-year and Social Justice Residential Education associate at the MRC, said that Myers is a valuable source of support.
“Toni makes it a point to be accessible and listen to students,” Smith wrote in an email to the Review. “You can always come to the MRC in Wilder 208! [The MRC] is a more social space and Toni brings so much love and laughter into the space. … Toni is always there to listen.”