Czarina Ramsay leaves Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement
Carboard boxes were stacked and the walls were bare in Director of the Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement (CICE) Czarina Ramsay’s office on Tuesday, Sept. 22. It was Ramsay’s last day of work at the University of Puget Sound. Even though she was teary-eyed from goodbyes, Ramsay was well-spoken and elegantly dressed, exuding professionalism and warmth.
Ramsay has left Puget Sound after working with CICE for five years in order to take a new job as Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Seattle University. At her new job, Ramsay will continue working to make campus an inclusive learning space for all students, specifically for those from underrepresented populations.
“I’m leaving a good thing to do a good thing,” Ramsay said, her voice cracking with emotion.
Ramsay said she is sad to leave Puget Sound, but also excited to bring the energy, ideas and expertise that she has gained at Puget Sound to a larger community at Seattle University. She leaves with the confidence that the Puget Sound community and CICE, which have both grown under her watch, will continue to thrive.
“She really made [CICE] feel like a family,” CICE Youth Programs Coordinator Sam Scott said. Ramsay enlivened a sense of community in CICE, which she sees as one of her triumphs at Puget Sound.
“No one smiled in the early meetings or acknowledged when I was there. Now I’ve gotten so many hugs just walking across campus… It’s great to see that level of excitement and trust,” Ramsay said, reflecting on the contrast between her first and last days working at the University.
As a University of Puget Sound alumna and an Afro-Latina American, Ramsay has a personal stake in helping fellow Loggers feel included. In her days as a student, she was sometimes concerned that students from the margins did not always feel that their identities were valued and understood at the University.
Ramsay feels that a triumph of her work here has been getting students engaged with issues of power structures and minorities.
For Ramsay, real victories could be seen and heard this fall when she noticed students continuing to discuss ideas after she finished a presentation about systems of dominance.
“As a student here, I wouldn’t have thought that could ever happen,” Ramsay said.
She encourages members of the campus community to continue to support one another. Ramsay also urges those who feel alienated to connect with others from minority backgrounds and for the whole community to engage in discussions about the pre-existing power structures and how to change them.
With all that Ramsay has done, it is difficult to find someone who can fill her shoes.
“We want the right person, not just a person… We’ve come so far in five years; to take a step back is not an option,” Director for Spiritual Life and Civic Engagement Dave Wright said when discussing the search for Ramsay’s replacement.
The position was posted on Monday, Sept. 21, but Wright does not expect to find a replacement for another month or two. A hiring committee led by Donn Marshall plans to meet in the first week of October. Until a replacement can be found, the CICE staff will divide up Ramsay’s duties.
“While we are losing someone at the heart of our work, we’re also celebrating for her and with her,” Wright said.