Keep the Utah Opportunity Scholarship with Dr. Dace and Kristi Ryujin sign now

In the Summer of 2006, the current Administration of the University, namely President Michael K. Young and Vice President David Pershing, made the decision to move the Utah Opportunity Scholarship from its current direction under Associate Vice President Karen Dace and Kristi Ryujin to the Office of Student Affairs. This shift in administrative leadership will remove Kristi Ryujin, who has not only four years of experience directing the scholarship but also the commitment to tirelessly work one on one with each and every student who has come through the program. Because she always gets closely acquainted with each student she has been able to meet their needs and serve as their strongest advocate. The new resolution proposes to replace her with an individual who is not nearly as experienced or knowledgeable of the issues affecting students of color on our particular campus.

The authors of the recent Review of the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs (CESA) document released March 22, 2006 outline for students of color their financial, academic, and socio-economical concerns are often intertwined in a manner that is different from those of majority students, and thus not amenable to help in traditional settings like a standard financial aid or academic advising office. Kristi Ryujin and Dr. Karen Dace have understood the intricacies of dealing with students of color. Their past actions and accomplishments reflect their devotion to creating a safe space for these students where their different needs, cultural and life experience backgrounds are attended to in a holistic manner.

Ultimately, this move not only threatens the future of Utah Opportunity Scholars, who have succeeded in an unprecedented way at the university, but also puts in question the institutions commitment towards equal opportunity and the welfare of students of color.

We, the undersigned, request that first, the University rescind its decision to move the scholarship and second, give more support and recognition to the office of the Vice President for Diversity and the remarkable work that Karen Dace and Kristi Ryujin have done on behalf of diverse students at our university.

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Angelina GrimesBy:
School and EducationIn:
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The University of Utah Administration

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