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Monday, December 4, 2023


Center for Diversity and Inclusion requests SFAC funds for minority male program

Center for Diversity and Inclusion Director Niya Blair stands with supporters at the ribbon cutting of the CDI Center. | Aliyah Zaidi/ The Cougar

“We have to be intentional about how we’re attracting and marketing our center to get more people into the space,” said Center for Diversity and Inclusion Director Niya Blair of the Center. | Aliyah Zaidi/ The Cougar

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion presented their budget requests to the Student Fee Advisory Committee on Monday in hopes of receiving additional funding for Fiscal Year 2018.

CDI requested a total of $30,422. They want to dedicate $17,172 toward a graduate assistant position for their Achievement Initiative for Minority Males (A.I.M.M.) program and $13,250 to supplement the program’s expansion.

“We can’t continue to expand the program if we don’t have the infrastructure needed from (SFAC) resources,” said Niya Blair, the director of CDI.

An initiative designed to help with the recruitment and retention of African American and Hispanic males, research for a UH-based A.I.M.M. program officially began in Fall 2014. In the spring of the following year, the University received 90 applicants and chose 16 participants.

According to CDI’s director, Niya Blair, creating the A.I.M.M. program is a way to attract and retain minority males at the University of Houston. In order for the initiative to continue being successful, the CDI requests a graduate assistant to oversee the program.

Blair said the graduate assistant’s duties would include advising, leading and providing support to members, organizing bi-weekly meetings and workshops, and providing assessments for the program and its members, among other duties.

Additional funding is requested to develop a multi-year co-curricular leadership experience for students in partnership with Academic Affairs and establishing globally focused initiatives that provide students with opportunities for campus and environment engagement.

Blair spoke of A.I.M.M.’s Spring 2016 event, which will be a one-day college program for minority males attending high school in the Third Ward. African American and Hispanic students in the tenth grade will be able to view UH from a student’s perspective with CDI’s hope that they return to attend college.

In CDI’s additional requests, they hope for $7,000 to fund students’ participation and attendance at the Black and Brown College Bound Summit in Tampa, Fl. The conference boasts national experts, students and educational leaders who discuss strategies to help increase the academic achievement of minority males in higher education.

“You can’t provide diversity education opportunities for one population,” Blair said. “We’re all a campus community here and we want to make sure it’s an inclusive environment for everyone.”

Last year, SFAC approved the CDI’s request for initial funding of the A.I.M.M. program, considering it “an exemplary method of benefiting some of the most vulnerable in society via strong mentorship and training.”

This fall, the program’s second cohort doubled A.I.M.M. membership in less than a year.

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