Student Multicultural Center welcomes new director

Talea Drummer

Talea Drummer

Cameron Gorman

Kent State’s Student Multicultural Center has welcomed a new director.

Talea Drummer, who replaced Oscar Ramos, has previously worked in the university’s Athletics department and the Upward Bound programs, and graduated with her Ph.D in 2014.

“Even when I was an undergrad many years ago, I was very involved with our center and it definitely was a staple,” Drummer said. “Especially for a student like me, who typically is shy and not so willing to go out … there was a sense of family there.”

Monday was Drummer’s first day as director. Although she is in a new role and new location from where she’s used to working, Drummer said she has been around the center for a while, and could feel that there are dynamic leaders within the student-body here.

Once the director’s position became open at the multicultural center, she said it was a “no-brainer” for her to look into it.

“It was an opportunity to work with people that I really was excited to be around, and … it felt mutual to me,” Drummer said. “Now I see it all coming full circle — to actually be a full, active participant in it is definitely something I’m very excited about.”

The center has served, according to Ramos, as the “main hub on campus for students of color” since 1998 and promotes cultural celebration, transition programs and a variety of services and initiatives.

“It definitely helps a lot of your students, especially when you’re at an institution where predominantly, that’s not the culture — for them to have a sense of belonging, for them to kind of have a voice,” Drummer said.

Ramos was the director for a little over two years, but has departed in order to pursue an opportunity to become an executive pastor at his church.

“To be quite honest, it’s impacted me very deeply,” Ramos said. “To be able to do this work has been such an honor because I was the first in my family to go to college … for me, this work was very personal.”

Ramos hopes to stay in touch with the university, but feels confident in Drummer as the new director.

“We’ve built a great culture here in the center, we have a great team … and I feel very confident about passing the baton on to Dr. Drummer,” Ramos said. “I think it’s also really important that the leader of this center is a doctor. I think that sends a message about what this center represents.”

Dana Lawless-Andric, associate vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, was also confident in the decision. Lawless-Andric said Drummer comes with extensive student services and student retention experience.

“I see Dr. Drummer as (a) true student advocate that has strong skills coupled with a passion for working with students that will greatly enhance and build upon the work already happening in the (Student Multicultural Center),” Lawless-Andric said. “We are excited for Dr. Drummer to bring her lens and passion to the center to build its presence throughout the university.”

Moving forward, Drummer hopes to expand and continue the progress made by Ramos, as well as continue to promote the center and its services to students.

“I think the biggest thing is we have some really big moments that (are) happening … you can feel it as soon as you walk in,” Drummer said. “There are a lot of good initiatives; Oscar did some really great work in the last few years that he’s been here, so continuing in that direction … (and) figuring out how we can grow in other ways (will be our focus for the future).”

One of these areas of growth, Drummer said, will be to “continue to brand the center” so that students are aware of it, as well as to serve as a role model for those students.

Even though it is a large responsibility, Drummer said she will take it with great pride.  

“It’s a great reward and a great responsibility … I know that how I am, how I’ll direct and how I handle many situations that will come my way, is going to be reflective of how they view what I represent and not just me as a person,” Drummer said.

Cameron Gorman is a diversity reporter, contact her at [email protected]