ASUO Men’s Center finds a new director

The ASUO Men’s Center has found a new director, and they are set to begin work Jan. 6. The hire comes after the center’s proposal to expand its budget was approved last spring.

Quantrell Willis, the Associate Dean of Students for University of Oregon was the supervisor of the hiring committee in the search for a new director. He cannot release their name at this time because of a pending background check and paperwork that is not yet completed; however, Willis is excited about what this means for the center.

According to Willis, he and a hiring committee of several others went through approximately 40 to 50 applications for the position and then narrowed their search from there down to two candidates who came to campus to interview. The process included getting feedback from students and faculty members as well as a few community members.

The Men’s Center is one of very few in the nation, and Willis believes that the new director will not only benefit the UO campus but also put the center on a national level as an example for other universities.

“The Men’s Center strives to create spaces and events where people of all genders and identities can work collectively towards reconstructing masculinity in a social justice-oriented manner,” according to the center’s website.

Started in 2002 by a counseling center staff member at the university, the center’s original mission was to assist men in leading healthier lives. However, when the founder retired, the GTF who had been working alongside him took over and wanted to make the center a more inclusive space, creating the broader mission in place today. Following the second director’s departure from UO, the current Interim Director Aaron Porter continues to care for the center’s mission.

In his time as director, Porter has been striving to engage people on campus with the center in numerous ways including The Men’s Starter Project, a production where men with different backgrounds come together in front of the community and share personal stories challenging different notions of masculinity. The center also holds various weekly meetings and has launched a Men of Strength Club, or MOST, which focuses on sexual violence prevention.

As the center moves forward and the new director comes in, Porter said, “My role will be doing what I always have known I will need to do, and have to do which is hard, that is to step back and let it go.”

While a formal announcement has yet to be made about the new hire, Porter spoke to the character of the new director and is excited about the transition. He thinks that the individual will fit in well on campus, he said, “I think that they have the skills and capacity to support our really amazing students […] I think they are personal, and relatable, and they are passionate.”


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Desiree Bergstrom

Desiree Bergstrom