JMU News

CMSS relocating to Student Success Center

Move signals university’s commitment to DEI

CMSS move to SSC

This summer, the Center for Multicultural Student Services will relocate from The Union to the Student Success Center. The move is intended to increase CMSS’ visibility and underscore JMU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as part of the Madison Experience.

“The CMSS move to SSC feels right, and the timing is perfect as we’re celebrating 35 years on campus, having a new associate vice president for DEI in place, and are involved with university-wide diversity initiatives pushing toward a better campus climate,” said Valarie Ghant, director of CMSS.

The move, which is expected to take place in June, “will send a strong message to our students of color, diverse ethnic and affinity groups, constituents and community that we, at JMU, both see and hear you,” Ghant said.

CMSS staff 2020
CMSS staff outside The Union in Fall 2020.

Brent Lewis, associate vice president for DEI, said the new location will also create opportunities for CMSS to be more forward-facing to the greater JMU community. 

“When I arrived at JMU, it was clear to me that DEI efforts needed to be centered within the student experience,” Lewis said. “Moving CMSS to the SSC will highlight not only the intentional efforts of CMSS, but also the other departments within DEI in Student Affairs.”

In Fall 2020, CMSS, the Office of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) and the Office of Disability Services (ODS) joined together to form the new Student Affairs DEI area.

In addition to championing diversity, cultural awareness and social justice issues, and providing space for JMU students to be themselves, CMSS serves as a resource for multicultural student organizations on campus, hosts community dialogues like D.E.E.P Impact and supports heritage months.

CMSS and SOGIE will occupy space on the first floor of the Student Success Center, which is home to more than two dozen university departments and functions that support student learning, student health and student services.

Chervon Moore, associate director of CMSS, said the location will elevate the center from a “hidden gem” to an integral part of campus culture.

“This move is a step in the right direction in showing that diversity, equity and inclusion matter on our campus,” Moore said. “Our students deserve this type of exposure and having their identities be seen.”  


 Media contact: Mary-Hope Vass,, 540-568-7487

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Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Last Updated: Thursday, June 3, 2021

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