New meeting places planned for African Americans and Asian/Pacific Islander students
Author: Scott Gallagher, University Communications
Posted: December 11, 2015

Portland State University (PSU) will create meeting places for African American students and Asian/Pacific Islander students on campus. The new spaces will complement the existing “La Casa Latina” space for Latino students, Native American Center and the Multicultural Center for all students of color. The new spaces will be open to students in fall 2016.

The rooms, designed to be inviting gathering places for the students to study and meet with advisors and mentors, are part of PSU’s commitment to diversity and supporting student success. The new spaces will each have a staff person and be filled with original art, comfortable furniture and computer stations.

"Last week during the ‘Students of Color Speak Out’ event I heard from our students that there is a need for this kind of support,” said PSU President Wim Wiewel. “The space is a wonderful thing, but it’s just a start. Continued progress toward our goal of an equitable, diverse and inclusive campus will require much more dialogue and hard work.”

In addition to these new spaces Wiewel is working with administration, staff and faculty unions, and student groups to address diversity issues on campus including: hiring more diverse faculty and advisors, developing culturally responsive training, curriculum content, and recruitment efforts, and providing more scholarships. Wiewel also announced the immediate change in the title of Dr. Carmen Suarez, who has been serving as Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). Although the CDO has served on the President’s executive committee since 2010, Wiewel changed the title to Vice President for Global Diversity and Inclusion to make it clear that Suarez’s position is integral and equal to that of the Provost and other PSU leadership.

Students of color enrolled at PSU has increased from 23 percent to 28 percent in fall 2015, the largest number ever. It is the biggest increase in minority enrollment in PSU’s history. 

2015  Enrollment                                

Hispanic/Latino, 2,932, 10.4%

Asian, 2,125, 7.6%

Black , 906, 3.2%

Native American, 362, 1.3%

Pacific Islander,  162 0.6%

Multiple Ethnic/Race, 1,437, 5.1%

Total : 7,924, 28 %