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Council expands on a vision for MATC

By Keio Horton, Times Staff Reporter
On February 28, 2013

The President's Diversity Council (PDC) was created for the students under the guidance of Dr. Michael L. Burke, President of MATC, to grow cultural awareness and to foster diversity. Burke created their vision that through their work they can make MATC a more welcoming, inclusive, and just college. No matter where you come from (race, ethnicity, gender, etc.) you will feel welcome when you join the PDC.
The PDC is a very beneficial resource for students; they get to meet, interact and work with a wide range of people, and work to build a better community within the school and in their own communities. PDC is a good organization to be a part of if you feel you can help develop a kinship and be recognized among your peers.
Early in 2010, the President's Task Force (earlier version of the organization formed by Dr. Darnell Cole) was first introduced to Walter D. Lanier, director of Student Advising and Multicultural Services by Ann Wilson, director of the Board and Dr. Vicki Martin, interim president at that time, to form a new student organization, thus resurrecting a vision to bridge cultures and focusing on inter-cultural experiences, naming it the President's Diversity Council.
In speaking with Burke, he felt it was necessary to continue with a council of students, taking on multi-cultural issues as his predecessor had initiated.
"My predecessor [Dr. Darnell H. Cole] wanted to have a vehicle to focus around issues of diversity and provide some kind of mechanism for them to surface issues," said Burke. He continued, "My goal is that this college ends up being a more welcoming place and more inclusive place for students of color, as well as a more just college."
To accomplish the mission set forth by the president, Lanier facilitates the council meetings. "We want students to come to table and agree to disagree, but have a forum where each could be heard and discuss the issues," says Lanier, "because student involvement is the best kind of involvement."
"Students don't have enough time in order to commit to extracurricular activities due to their busy schedules," said Burke. The council has often worked with a majority of student organizations on campus such as International Student Organization, Latino Student Organization, Black Student Union, and Student Government. They each help each other in planning events, bringing guest speakers, and other projects.
A few of these organizations have members representing them as a part of the PDC. "It doesn't hurt to have a connection with not only PDC, but with other organizations as well," Lanier stated.
It's not just about making MATC a more diverse college. Samuel Alford, member, stated that PDC also wants to make it a more friendly, respectful and accepting college. "They provide equal opportunity for those who are unable to keep up in classes with the other students," says Alford.
The council is still a young and growing organization available to all students. PDC meets on the second Tuesday of every month in room M610 of the Downtown Campus.
The PDC wants the students of MATC to come participate and help them reach their goal. Not only do you get to work with some remarkable people, but you get to be the conscience of the college.
Members can also receive recognition from the Dean of MATC and Burke when they graduate.
Contributing to the President's Diversity Council can be a valuable resource when applying for a career, job, or moving on to another college.
If you find issues of injustice or want to engage yourself in thoughtful discussion, then reach out to those in the President's Diversity Council.

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