The Coordinating Council for Minority Issues, the precursor to OMSA, came to be as a result of suggestions made in 1986 by an ad hoc committee of students, faculty, and staff which was chaired by Professor Dorothy Norton. The Norton Report, as it came to be called, made a number of recommendations which were designed to halt the decrease in Black student enrollment. In 1987, then-president Hannah Gray directed the formation of the Coordinating Council for Minority Issues (CCMI).
In the years since its inception, CCMI grew from an ad hoc committee with a volunteer chairperson to a formal office within Central Administration, complete with professional permanent staff. On November 20, 2002, the name of this office was officially changed to the Office of Minority Student Affairs to better describe our main mission - promoting recruitment, retention, and quality of campus life of minority students.
In 2003 the Amandla Center, "Amandla" is a South African Zulu word for "power"; was established to celebrate and embrace cultural diversity at the University of Chicago. The space has evolved and now it is part of 5710 S. Woodlawn, the home of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Office of LGBTQ Student Life, and the Amandla Lounge.
On July 1, 2007 the name of this office was changed to the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. This change reflects both student and staff input, and more accurately reflects the mission and work of the office. The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs recognizes and honors the complex, multifaceted, and nuanced nature of identity.
On February 26, 2008, a renovated house at 5710 South Woodlawn opened as the new home for OMSA and the Office of LGBTQ Student Life. 5710 is a student-centered space that enhances the overall campus experience for students of color and LGBTQ students and will serve as a vibrant hub for students to congregate together, join in programming and community-building, and work closely with staff from both offices.
Please browse the links in the navigation bar to the left to learn more about OMSA's staff and student community.