Cumberland Times-News

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July 14, 2014

ACM releases cultural diversity report

— CUMBERLAND — A report on diversity presented Monday at Allegany College of Maryland’s monthly board of trustees meeting indicated that services aimed at supporting the diverse student population on campus have increased.

A presentation on the annual report, called the Cultural Diversity Plan Progress Report, was delivered by Renee Conner, vice president of student and legal affairs.

Conner said two new student groups were created during the 2013/2014 school year and counseling offered through the campus Diversity Center had nearly doubled since the previous year.

“If you’d ask me, I’m not sure why,” Conner said in regard to the increase in counseling hours. A‚Äątotal of 44 students received 106 hours of counseling during the 2013/2014 school year provided by the Western Maryland Health System and the Appalachian Behavioral Health Center.

“It may indicate more student need or perhaps they are more responsive this year to getting the help,” said Conner.

Established in 2009, the Maryland Higher Education Commission began requiring colleges to create a cultural diversity plan and submit an annual progress report.

“The report is to be submitted to MHEC by August 1,” said Conner.

ACM saw the creation of two new student organizations this past school year. A club known as P.R.I.D.E. and a second group called Culture Club were established.

The mission of P.R.I.D.E. is to provide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and staff a safe and supportive learning and living environment.

Culture Club is designed to educate students in diverse environments so they can feel comfortable in their future jobs and learn to respect different ethnic groups in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

ACM’s Diversity Center, located in the College Center, also sponsors, co-sponsors or financially supports several events and activities to promote diversity throughout the school year. Some of the activities include an Interfaith Town Hall, history of hip-hop program, Gandhi’s birthday celebration, Chinese acrobats, African Dance Group, a veteran’s open house, Save the World Fair and more.

Conner said she has been pleased that students have been utilizing the counseling services.

“They can get up to five free sessions per semester. Through the faculty and the staff we promote that in every way we can think of,” said Conner.

Conner said it was gratifying to know the students who need the counseling are getting the service at no cost to them.

The report also stated that ACM sent six faculty members and eight students to the Maryland Male Students of Color 2013 Summit held at Frederick Community College in October.

The college also offers on-campus, garden style apartments for 236 full-time students of all socio-economic classes. Known as Willowbrook Woods, the complex houses largely low-income and first generation college students, according to the report.

ACM rules state that any student who engages in harassment, abuse, or bullying of any person or group is referred for disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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