DML launches search to fill new director position, Lealtad-Suzuki Center restructured

Margaret Moran, News Editor

Macalester is folding the Lealtad-Suzuki Center (LSC) and moving its operations into the purview of the broader Department of Multicultural Life (DML) as it steps up its search for a replacement for former Director of the LSC Jason Jackson.

The LSC was founded in 2002 as the programmatic arm of the DML. Jackson joined the college as its director in 2017, but resigned abruptly in October.

The person hired to replace Jackson will become the Director of Diversity Education, Leadership and Inclusion — a role that shares many of Jackson’s former responsibilities, sans the oversight of the LSC.

Tegra Myanna, who is the Assistant Director of the LSC, will become Assistant Director of Diversity Education, Leadership & Inclusion.

Dean of Multicultural Life Marjorie Trueblood said that these structural changes will better fit the DML’s purpose going forward.

“Part of the reason for the shift is to have better coherence of what we’re doing in the DML,” Trueblood said. “Instead of having within our department these silos, [we’re] just trying to figure out how we can have a collective unit.”

More specifically, Trueblood envisionshopes that the new director creatinghelpingwill help to create more mentorship opportunities for students.

Trueblood hopes that the Macalester community will embrace the new structure of the DML, despite the changes it may bring.

“There will be a shift, and I think the hardest part is when there’s change, there’s a little bit of a grieving process,” Trueblood said. “Some things that have always been done maybe not being done the same way that they were.”

“I’m hoping that with new people and new energy that we can be receptive to how it plays out and be open to think about how multiculturalism continues to be expressed here,” she continued.

Education Coordinator Tianrui Liu ’21 started working at the LSC last September. Liu said that, after losing Jackson, the LSC has had to cut down on some of its programming.

“I feel like it’s been a necessary move, a good decision for now, because it’s better for us to focus on [fewer] things and do well instead of doing everything but it’s so busy and we’re probably not doing our best,” Liu said.

Liu, who currently spends most of her time at the LSC working on co-curricular programs such as Trenzas, sees her role shifting to include more mentoring opportunities.

“I’m excited for it, even though we will be responsible for doing more,” Liu said.

The position was posted last week, and Trueblood hopes to fill it by July to insure that the new hire is in place by the beginning of the fall semester. She mentioned that since Jackson’s departure, she and Myanna have picked up almost all of his former duties.

With the dissolution of the LSC, Trueblood is also thinking about new ways to incorporate the founding namesakes of the Lealtad-Suzuki Center: Catharine Lealtad, class of 1915, Macalester’s first African-American graduate, and Esther Suzuki ’46, its first Japanese-American graduate.

“Lealtad and Suzuki will still find their way to what it is that we’re doing,” Trueblood said.