MIT Office of Minority Education to be potentially renamed and undergo organizational changes

OME could be renamed due to “potential organizational changes to the OME, cultural norms, and external scrutiny”

A meeting between the MIT Office of Minority Education (OME) and OME-affiliated students took place on May 9. Diep Luu, Associate Dean of the Office of the Vice Chancellor, Director of the Undergraduate Advising Center (UAC), and Interim Director of the OME presented future directions for the OME. A Q&A session followed.

Materials obtained by the Tech indicate that the OME could be set for a number of changes, including a renaming of the office as well as organizational rearrangements with the UAC. These changes come in the wake of a Supreme Court striking down affirmative action and the Institute’s recent removal of diversity statements from the faculty hiring process.

Recent developments within the OME and UAC

Founded in 1975, programs initiated by the OME in recent years intended “to meet the changing needs of our students” include Interphase EDGE, Laureates & Leaders, and TSR2. The UAC, on the other hand, was created in 2023 following the Task Force 2021 and Beyond report which called for “implementing change” in the MIT undergraduate academic experience.

The meeting went on to highlight the similarities in the missions of the UAC and OME respectively. Early in 2024, Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz charged Luu with “exploring options for enhancing collaboration and coordination between the OME and UAC.” In February 2024, DiOnetta Jones Crayton stepped down from her role as OME Director after leading the office for fourteen years. Luu was subsequently appointed interim OME Director. 

Potential “organizational home” and renaming for the OME proposed

Five options regarding the “organizational home” of the OME were presented, of which three were deemed “viable.” 

All three options shared the movement of the TSR2, an academic assistance and tutoring resource program, into the UAC’s academic achievement component. The first option was to retain the OME “as-is” without the TSR2 component. The second was to “establish the OME as the fifth pillar of the UAC.” The third was to “incorporate the student belonging efforts under the OME banner within the UAC.”

Options were also presented regarding the naming of the OME. Luu cited “potential organizational changes to the OME, cultural norms, and external scrutiny” as reasons.

The options included retaining the current name, changing the words comprising the OME acronym, rebranding the OME without direct reference to terms like “minority,” or the creation of an entirely new name or acronym. 

Students raise concerns in Q&A session

The Q&A session was marked by questions regarding the potential ramifications of renaming the OFE, the allocation of resources to OME programming in the context of the UAC expanding, and the transparency on the administration’s behalf regarding potential changes to the Office. 

According to the administration, the intention of renaming of the OME was “to ensure that the OME’s purpose is clear to all students, including those who may not immediately identify with the term ‘minority.’” They added that a renaming of the OME would “create a more inclusive and supportive environment.”

With regards to the programming already led by the OME, the administration stated that the OME current staff count of ten will be preserved, “ensur[ing] continuity in its specialized programming while avoiding any reallocation of resources to support the UAC’s expansion.” Meanwhile, the UAC is planning to nearly quadruple its staffing. the administration said that such growth on the UAC side “doesn’t detract from the OME’s resources, but rather presents an opportunity for resource sharing.”

An attendee requested that a survey be sent out to the community regarding the changes in the OME, noting a desire “to see clear evidence against any future miscommunications between [the] administration and students.” Without providing specifics, the administration stated that “Dr. Luu will discuss the feasibility and implementation of surveys with the Vice Chancellor and Chancellor to determine the most effective approach moving forward.”

Ellie Montemayor '26 contributed reporting.