Diversity group tries to fill void

By Erica Mitchell

One campus group working to unite black and white Greeks is at a standstill after the resignation of its facilitator this summer.

Mahjabeen Raffiudin resigned from her position as director of Student Diversity Engagement at UK in June. Raffiudin developed the Inter Greek Relations Project last September to promote cooperation between black and white fraternities. Now, her exit has left a void for the group, said student committee member Emily Brantley.

“We’re kind of at a crossroads right now,” said Brantley, a management and political science junior.

Although the members hope to keep the group going, they do not have the materials they need to facilitate themselves, Brantley said. Aun Munis, a student committee member, said the group had to find a way to continue without a facilitator, which was an adjustment for the group.

“The biggest change is that Mahjabeen is gone,” said Munis, a biology senior. “We had to work out a new kind of game plan.”

Raffiudin declined to comment on her decision to leave UK.

The search is on for a replacement for Raffiudin, said Rhonda Strouse, UK’s director of student involvement, but there are some changes to the position. Her replacement will operate from within a different department and with a new title.

Before Raffiudin resigned, Student Diversity Engagement reported to the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. This year, the position will report to Student Affairs and be an assistant director of student involvement, Strouse said.

“The position has not been demoted,” Strouse said. “The level of the position has not been changed in any way.”

Raffiudin left UK to accept a similar job as director of multicultural affairs at Rollins College in Florida. Senior UK Ambassador Patrick Nally said Raffiudin will be missed, but he is hopeful for the future of the new position.

“No one can replace Mahjabeen’s vision and passion,” said Nally, who worked closely with Raffiudin. “However, I do believe someone with a great vision could come to UK and make just as great as an impact in different ways.”

Strouse said there are currently candidates being reviewed to take Raffiudin’s position, but there is no estimated date when it will be filled. Raffiudin was the first person to hold the position of director of SDE, she said, and did a lot to establish the direction of the programs and services offered.

Nally said that Raffiudin is “now pursuing personal interest and challenging herself in new ways,” and he hopes that improving diversity continues to be a priority for Raffiudins replacement.

“I hope that whoever becomes the assistant director of student involvement has an intense understanding and desire to see UK promote inclusion and diversity as much as Student Diversity Engagement did,” he said.