Students protest changes to Office of Diversity and departure of Arturo Ocampo from AVP position


Students protesting in front of Kellogg Library. Photo by Jeffrey Davis, Photographer.

Katlin Sweeney, Editor-in-Chief

Students, faculty and staff gathered in Kellogg Library Plaza to protest the departure of Arturo Ocampo from the university.

In an email sent on Monday, Feb. 1, President Karen Haynes issued an announcement to the campus regarding pending changes to the organizational structure of the Office of Diversity, Educational Equity, Inclusion and Ombuds Services (DEEIO). According to Haynes, information gathered during the Diversity Mapping Project and the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Planning Process has prompted a shift in how DEEIO will be present on campus. Included in this change is the departure of Arturo Ocampo, former Associate Vice President of DEEIO, from the university.

Beginning at 12:33 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3, students, faculty and staff formed a protest circle outside of Kellogg Library to show their support for Ocampo and demand a response from President Haynes as to why he is no longer at CSUSM. Members of student groups such as Associated Students Inc., Black Student Union, M.E.Ch.A. and American Indian Student Alliance, in addition to faculty from the Women’s Studies and Sociology departments, were in attendance.

Student activists Selena Arellano and Karen GuzmXn led the approximate 47 protesters in a unity clap, followed by a speech by GuzmXn on why Ocampo’s departure has triggered a response from the campus community. Protesters also held a moment of silence to acknowledge their respect for Ocampo and the work he has done with the DEEIO over the past few years.

“One of the big messages that the university sent on Monday [with Haynes’ email] is that diversity is not a priority,” GuzmXn said. “We do not only want the university to hear us, but see us, protesting this change.”

Throughout the protest speech, students shared their frustrations with the changes made to DEEIO and Ocampo’s departure from the university.

“This protest is important because our school says they value diversity, but our AVP, who was fighting full time to make this a reality, has been removed from his position,” ASI Student Rep. at Large For Diversity, Akilah Green, said. “There was no reason provided in the email [from Haynes] as to why Arturo is gone. We want answers.”

“It is important to have Arturo here because he represented a lot of our students,” Yazmin Doroteo, CHABSS Rep. For ASI, said.

Besides Green and Doroteo, members of ASI such as ASI President, Tiffaney Boyd, and VP For Student and University Affairs, Jamaela Johnson, also spoke on behalf of Ocampo.

“The Diversity office has done magnificent work for our campus,” Johnson said. “We are going to make noise until we have answers.”

“Our bodies must be seen and our voices must be heard,” Boyd said.

After demonstrating in Library Plaza, protestors went into the Academic Senate meeting in Kellogg Library to make sure their concerns were heard by members of the senate and President Haynes.

This story continues to develop and will be updated as more information is obtained.

Watch video coverage here.