How do multicultural student services represent and support the neends of underrepresented groups on campus? Should faith and spirituality be addressed by multicultural student services? What do multicultural student services look like at different types of institutions and how do they operate? Can a White individual serve as the leader of a multicultural student services office? In a time that emphasizes decentralizing diversity work on campus and scrutinizes programs for certain underrepresented groups, how do multicultural student services remain relevant? These and other provocative questions are addressed in Dafina Lazarus Stewart's (2011) edited book, Multicultural Student Services on Campus: Building Brides, Re-Visioning Community. Described as a "handbook" by the editor, this text comprehensively covers the history, services, strategies, challenges, and opportunities for multicultural student services (or MSS, an acronym used liberally throughout the book). The first half of the subtitle, Building Bridges, speaks to how these services can and must work across different groups, cultures, values, and campus constituencies. Re-Visioning Community, the second half of the subtitle, inspires us to regard both homogeneity and difference as mutually compatible ways of conceptualizing community on campus.
The book is divided into four parts, each with sound and distinctive perspectives on multicultural student services. Preceding each of these four parts is a brief introduction where Stewart asserts that this handbook provides a more "thorough treatment" of multicultural affairs and multicultural student services than has been provided in earlier literature. We agree with her assessment of the book's aims and approaches.
Part 1, which traces the current view of multicultural student services to their historical roots, opens with a chapter by Kupo. This chapter is structured around the exclusion of marginalized groups and legal mandates that were intended to address the practices of exclusion and inclusion. Kupo highlights the complex nature of the historical events that have shaped the present day issues and the unwelcoming conditions that gave rise to the need for MSS. In chapter 2, Shuford builds on the previous chapter with the goal of examining the early roots and the evolution of MSS. The author skillfully blends limited historical literature on the topic with recent data from a nationwide survey of multicultural centers to describe the progression of MSS that have paralleled the concerns of the day. Chapter 3 will appeal to readers who seek numerical data to gain insight about MSS. The authors, Stewart and Bridges, present empirical data from a 2008 survey that provides a portrait of MSS on a variety of descriptors including institutional characteristics, program information, personnel demographics, facilities and services of multicultural student services, campus attitudes toward these offices, and recommendations for areas in need of improvement.
Part 2 of the book is dedicated to the discussion of the multiple and intersecting [End Page 857] identities of college students addressed by MSS, namely race, sexual orientation, gender, and religion. An underlying feature of each chapter is the recommendation for MSS to seek a more integrated approach to addressing multiple aspects of students' identity. In chapter 4, Patton, Ranero, and Everett discuss the issue of race in MSS, focusing on Black students in particular. The authors use Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a lens, arguing that MSS needs to "remain mindful of their original mission to ensure the history and struggles of the past that were instrumental in the success of students of color are not forgotten" (p. 77). Negrete and Purcell, in chapter 5, attend to the challenge of incorporating sexual orientation and gender identity into MSS offerings. The authors discuss the ever-changing landscape of LGBT issues and the need for more integrative services to meet, in particular, the needs of students who identify across multiple identities with respect to race, sexual orientation, and gender. In chapter 6, Small answers the question about the inclusion of religious diversity in an MSS office with a definitive "Yes" and offers practical suggestions on how to realize this objective. The authors of chapter 7, Almandrez...