The Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR) was established to foster a community at Defiance College that embraces ethnic pluralism and celebrates diversity and differences among students, faculty and staff. The OIR provides individual counseling regarding personal/academic concerns, information referrals, and other services that enhance the social, academic and personal development of students of diverse ethnicities and international students on campus.
Mercedes Clay, MBOL, MBA
Director of Intercultural Relations
Hours: M-F, 8:30am to 4:30pm or by appointment
Programs and Services
The OIR provides programming addressing diversity, sensitivity and cross-cultural issues for all members of the College Community including:
Welcome Dessert- August
The Welcome Dessert provides an opportunity for new students of color and international students to meet current students as well as faculty and staff. This is also an opportunity to learn more about the programs and services provided by the Office of Intercultural Relations.
Hispanic Awareness Month- September19th-October 19th
The programming focuses on the beauty and appreciation of the Hispanic/ Latino culture through presentations, movies and lectures. Programs have included dessert series, lecture series with speakers such as Alina Fernandez, the daughter of Fidel Castro, and Salsa lessons.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner and Lecture
Thursday following the National Martin Luther King Day in January. The dinner and lecture celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event is open to all students, faculty and staff and community members.
International Soupapolooza- January
International soups are prepared by students, faculty and staff representing their individual cultures and shared with the campus community.
Black History Month- February
The programming focuses on celebrating the achievement and legacy of African Americans in the United States. Programs have included movie nights, history of jazz and gospel, lectures on the Hip Hop Culture and community dinners.
Alternative Spring Break Civil Rights Tour- March
During Spring Break, students have the opportunity to travel to historic Civil Rights landmarks and museums in the south. The tour has been to cities such as Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Montgomery and Nashville.
Diversity Awareness Month- April
In collaboration with the Black Action Student Association, International/Diversity activities are scheduled throughout the month of April.
Rites of Passage Celebration- April
The Rites of Passage Celebration is a program dedicated to our freshman and senior students of color. The freshmen celebrated for completing their first year of college as well as encouraged to continue their education. The seniors are celebrated for finishing their college education and encouraged as they enter into their new stages of life. The celebration begins with a Soul Food dinner, entertainment and lecture. Parents and other community guests are invited to attend this event.
OIR conducts diversity training for students, faculty and staff. Through lectures and simulation games, OIR provides a safe and encouraging environment to discuss the issues of diversity regarding racism, classism, sexism and sexual orientation.