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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Meet the new assistant director of retention in the Office of Multicultural Student Services

Reg+Hawkins+in+New+OMSS+Office.%0APhoto+taken+by+Sophie+Miller.
Reg Hawkins in New OMSS Office. Photo taken by Sophie Miller.

The Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS) has hired a new face as their assistant director of retention. Coming from the Office of Residence Life, Reg Hawkins has been hired for the position.  

“When the opportunity presented itself I was really excited because doing diversity and inclusion work is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Hawkins said in an interview with The Racquet Press.  

Hawkins worked for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Office of Residence Life for five and a half years. He served as both a residence hall director and most recently as a complex hall director for Laux Hall and Sanford Hall. Hawkins left Residence Life and began at OMSS earlier this month on Jan. 22.  

“When the opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the office. I think at this stage in my career, being five years or so in Residence Life, it just felt like a good time,” said Hawkins.   

As Assistant Director of Retention, Hawkins will primarily be working with retention-based programs such as financial aid, grants and community-building programs. The Multicultural Validation Program (MVP) and the Hekima Scholars Program are two of the community-building programs Hawkins will be working with.  

Hawkins said, “MVP is designed for first-year multicultural students to have a mentor who is an upperclassman multicultural student to assist with their transition process from high school to college.”  

Hawkins has worked with MVP for years during his time at Residence Life as the MVP living learning community was housed in Laux Hall for the last several years. Hawkins will continue working with MVP in his new role with OMSS but in a different capacity. Students interested in being a mentor for MVP can apply now.  

As of this semester, Hawkins will also be teaching a course required for all Hekima Scholars.  

The Hekima Scholars program is designed for men of color in their first year at UWL. A topic of the course Hawkins highlighted was discussions on how masculinity intersects with racial identity.  

Hawkins said, “The course will primarily focus on their identities and learning different parts about their identity and how their transition is going, but also what it’s like to be a man of color at a predominantly white institution. 

The course is available exclusively in spring semesters and currently has seven enrolled students. Hawkins explained there is room for growth as the program has the capacity for around 20 students.  

If any students are interested in either MVP or the Hekima Scholars Program, they can reach out to Reg Hawkins at [email protected] or Vicki Sanchez at [email protected] in OMSS.  

Hawkins explained he was hesitant at the beginning because his experience at UWL is primarily outside of the classroom. “But with teaching, it gives me a real opportunity to work with men of color and have those deeper conversations about their identities,” he said. 

A course like this allows Hawkins to have conversations that, as he explained, are sometimes hard to come by.  

“Things like mental health and other identities that intersect with being a man and a person of color oftentimes are things we don’t get a chance to talk about that a whole lot,” Hawkins said. 

Hawkins is transitioning from student affairs work to diversity and inclusion work within the university. He explained how he is keeping in mind the difference in needs that the diversity and inclusion department has. “Especially in a time like this when I think there are a lot of shifts in how we view diversity and inclusion work,” he said.  

Hawkins is referring to negotiations between the Wisconsin Legislature and the UW Board of Regents. Interim Chancellor Betsy Morgan recently spoke of the statewide DEI budget and job cuts at a Student Association meeting. 

When asked if he had any hesitation in accepting a DEI position, Hawkins said he had no concerns. “I think everyone in the division is still expected to continue the work that we’ve been doing,” he said. 

Hawkins said, “I want to be with people who are still excited about this work and learn from them and all that they’ve done throughout the years that they’ve been here. I’m really excited to see what that looks like.”  

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About the Contributor
Sophie Miller, Social Justice Reporter
  • Year at UWL: Senior
  • PGPs: She/Her/Hers
  • Hometown: Prairie du Chien, WI
  • Major: Dual Major in Political Science & Communication Studies with a Public Communication and Advocacy Emphasis
  • Minor: Social Justice Minor
  • Other Campus Involvement: Intern in the Financial Aid Office
  • Future Plans after Graduation: Attend Graduate School
  • Favorite activity in La Crosse: Going to Pettibone Beach
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