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Students protest over change in diversity leadership

SAN MARCOS — As university President Karen Haynes delivered the annual Report to the Community, students protested outside the event on the firing of Arturo Ocampo, associate vice president of the Office of Diversity, Educational Equity and Inclusion.

California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) students also voiced concerns during the Feb. 4 protest that the Office of Diversity no longer reports to the university president, but to the vice president of Community Engagement.

Patricia Prado-Olmos, vice president of the Office of Community Engagement, took over the duties of the associate vice president of diversity on Feb. 1.

Last Friday Prado-Olmos said the university reconsidered its initial decision, and will continue to have the office report to Haynes.

Prado-Olmos will serve as interim vice president of diversity until the position is filled. She said it’s natural that there are questions and concerns during the change.

Haynes held a forum for students following the protest to allow them to express their concerns, and met with a group of students for further discussion. Margaret Chantung, university director of communications, said the meeting was held with students who sent a letter with questions about Ocampo being let go, and demands for a black student center.

Prado-Olmos said not having a designated space for a black student center has been a pressing campus issue. She said she will continue leadership and guidance to make the space for the center.

Since being assigned the new role Prado-Olmos has met with diversity staff to go over the upcoming calendar to make sure events are covered. She said she does not expect office operations to slow down.

“Office staff will continue the projects and programs that matter,” Prado-Olmos said.

One meeting brought together diversity and community engagement staff. Prado-Olmos said it provided a great networking opportunity.

“Inclusion, equity and diversity is owned by everyone here,” Prado-Olmos said.

In the interim position Prado-Olmos is charged with moving the university’s diversity initiative forward, and leading the development of an inclusion strategic plan.

“It’s how we intend to make our campus reflect inclusion excellence in its curriculum, climate and structure,” Olmos said.

The university will launch a search for a permanent associate vice president of diversity.