Beginning July 1, Ed Epping, professor of art, will oversee the scholarly aspects of the Multicultural Center (MCC) as academic director. For the past three years, the rotating position has been held by David Eppel, professor of theatre.
“I’m honored to be asked to contribute to a position that I consider to be very important,” Epping, who has been with the College for 34 years, said, “But, my appointment is all relatively new, and I’m still coming to know what the expectations are.”
He added that the title of his position is likely to change, as part of ongoing efforts to understand how the MCC might better serve the community. The MCC Advisory Committee has been meeting since December in order to re-evaluate the center’s role on campus, and part of that discussion has been redefining certain staff roles.
However, Epping expressed certainty that examining ways in which the MCC can better fuse with the curriculum will remain integral to the position. “The first thing I would like to do when I step into this role is to listen to people and learn what we need. From there on, I see myself as a sort of creative activist in making things happen,” Epping said.
His predecessor, Eppel, offered congratulations and observed that Epping was stepping into a very different MCC from the one that he himself had entered. “It is my perception that the MCC is somewhat on the periphery of the College, not just geographically, but philosophically as well,” Eppel said. “The MCC should not be a place or a club simply for people who are not of the dominant culture. It is essential that it becomes enmeshed with the whole Williams community.” Eppel noted that the new academic director would have a crucial part to play in making the MCC more central to the College’s thinking.
Along with Eppel, the MCC team will soon be losing another respected member, Assistant Director and Queer Life Coordinator Kareem Khubchandani. Khubchandani had intended to leave the school at the end of the 2006-2007 academic year to pursue graduate studies, but came back to serve for another year.
Speaking about his sudden change of mind, Khubchandani said, “I was visiting campus during First Days, and realized how much I missed this place. Since they hadn’t found anyone to replace me, I decided to stick around, but it was always with the understanding that it was for one year only.”
He spoke fondly of his time here, and expressed hope that his successor, who has yet to be appointed, would carry on his present efforts to make the MCC the heart of a diverse and welcoming Northern Berkshire community.