Changes Afoot at the OMA

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An anonymous Bwog tipster has forwarded us the following farewell email, which details the departure of Dr. Ajay Nair (right), Associate Dean of Student Affairs/Office of Multicultural Affairs. Dr. Nair will be returning to UPenn (where he was Director of the Pan-Asian American Community House) to serve as Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs. 

So say hello to new (but interim) Associate Dean of Student Affairs for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Melinda Aquino. (That’s her on the left.) You might remember Aquino from her position as Senior Assistant Dean of Multicultural Affairs. According to the OMA website, Aquino has previously worked at the University of Florida, the University of Miami, and Washington Sq.-based archenemy NYU. Also, “her current work examines cultural hybrity and ‘techo-Orientalism’ in cyborg science fiction literature and films.”

Email after the jump.

Dear Student,

I am writing to inform you that Dr. Ajay Nair, Associate Dean of

Student Affairs/Office of Multicultural Affairs will be returning to

the University of Pennsylvania to assume the role of Associate Vice

Provost for Student Affairs later in July.

In his two years here, Dr. Nair has been a dynamic and contributing

member of the student affairs team for Columbia College and The Fu

Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.  Under his

leadership, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) has developed

stronger opportunities for engagement between alumni and students

through mentorship programs and events, enhanced our diversity

education programs, and greatly increased the visibility of the

Intercultural Resource Center and the Intercultural House.  OMA’s

commitment to diversity education programs continues to benefit our

community immeasurably.  In the coming academic year, we will conclude

an independent assessment of the services provided by the Office of

Multicultural Affairs. This assessment and the resulting

recommendations will influence the continued development of the office

and its programs.

Melinda Aquino has accepted the role of Interim Associate Dean of

Student Affairs for the Office of Multicultural Affairs.   In her

role, Dean Aquino will be responsible for the leadership of the Office

of Multicultural Affairs.  As a member of the OMA staff for the past

three years, I am confident in the leadership and vision she will

provide for the office.

While Dr. Nair will be greatly missed, I know that he is excited to

return to his home and serve in this valuable position for the

University of Pennsylvania.  In his new role, Dr. Nair will provide

leadership for all aspects of student affairs and activities while

also serving as a Faculty Fellow in the College Houses and Academic

Services at the University of Pennsylvania.

Please join me in wishing Dr Nair and his family all the best as they

pursue this exciting opportunity for his career.


Chris Colombo

Dean of Student Affairs

Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

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  1. wtf?!?!

    Also, "her current work examines cultural hybrity and 'techo-Orientalism' in cyborg science fiction literature and films."

    Oh my God this school is going straight down the shitter.

  2. ...  

    Also, "her current work examines cultural hybrity and 'techo-Orientalism' in cyborg science fiction literature and films."

    that has got to be the coolest thing i've read all week!

  3. ...  

    ok... scratch that... whatever just happened there... that is the coolest thing i've read/saw all week...

  4. Amy

    I bet Melinda is a Cylon.

  5. Douglas MacArthur

    It's good to see a native of the Philippines at Columbia. Especially since, you know, my dad was stationed there and I, uh, liberated the place.

  6. yo

    Why do we even have a school of multicultural affairs?

  7. OMA  

    We do not have a school of multicultural affairs, we have an Office of Multicultural Affairs to work with different students and student groups.

  8. omg

    Melissa Aquino is a absolute sweetheart and very caring person... until you refuse to drink her anti-oppressment Kool Aid. Then she turns into a Cylon.

  9. Yeah...  

    Also Kerry Poynter is gone.

    But I'm actually sad that Dean Nair is leaving.

  10. confused

    was this sent to all students? I didn't get it in my e-mail...

  11. Roaree

    Melinda's pretty approachable and very nice. She did a mediation thing for my frat. I thought it was going to end up in some bashfest against us, but it was a really thoughtful and productive discussion. There were some intense and angry people there, and she seemed to calm everyone. I was totally surprised and impressed.

    I didn't know about the sci fi tidbit... that's AWESOME!

  12. wow

    sucks that dean nair's leaving, but how in the world did we let PENN get him back?

    whatever, acquino's gonna do a great job...

  13. terrorist

    ajay nair looks like mohammed atta, leader of the 9/11 attacks

  14. White Male

    I really liked Dean Nair and always had great interactions with him. But I think this email is just like many other OMA emails, sent only to the constituent groups nominally served by OMA. There are email lists for [email protected], Internationalstudents, Hispanics, Outoftheclosetgaypeople, etc. I think that's great and all, but there's no communication (officially) with everyone else. My friends of various affinities get OMA emails announcing events they might find interesting...I, on the other hand, do not. When there's a History Month, I actually go to the events, but OMA never emails me. One thing I hope the new heads will do is reach out more to the broader community; at a bare minimum, informing all of us when there's a major change in the staff. Dean Nair, I hardly knew ya.

    • another white male  

      I got the email, and I have a friend (who is Latino) who didn't get it. I'm part of one of their programs though. I think the email was sent to student closely involved with the office. Maybe those spam announcements are reserved for when the Quigleys of the world resign.

  15. understood  

    no, i know what you mean. OMA is going to reach out more to the student body as a whole in the coming semesters...

    i personally didn't get any e-mails until the columbia administration somehow found out i was gay. very sketch.


    Kind of fishy that Dean Aquino is the only person left in the OMA. She is a ruthless woman who only cares about advancing her own career.

    Sure, she may smile at you when you see her, but she stabs the people she works with in the Back.

    Dean Nair isnt the first person to leave the OMA -he is the 5th in less than a year. If this was any other office/department there would be an uproar and cause to investiate the working conditions.

    Something tells me this may be the case in the fall as well...

    • queer alum

      this post actually sounds fishy. maybe from another administrator who wanted the position? drama!

      anyway if the website is correct, marta should still be there too. she and dean aquino were both there when i graduated a couple years ago. they were always there working late and helping students. if anything, columbia should be concerned how to keep penn from stealing them too.

  17. woah

    axe to grind eh? calm down. the world isn't out to get you.

    anyway genius, if you read the post, it looks like Nair got a nice promotion in his new job. i bet a few of the others did also.

  18. queer alum again

    i do agree that working conditions should be looked at in the OMA. i'm sure they still work like dogs nights and weekends. more resources for an office that actually cares!

  19. '11

    Funding diversity training and multicultural politically-correct BS is a complete waste of money - how typical of our shitty administration.

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