Troutman residency based on scholarship, not race; misunderstanding remains

Southfield sophomore Kristen Bright is a Multicultural Advancement and Lloyd Cofer scholarship recipient  — one of many to be placed in Troutman Hall.

However, she wants her peers to know the scholars are not placed there because of race, but because they are scholarship recipients.

“More people should be knowledgeable of the MAC scholarship,” said Tamika Hawkins, a Detroit sophomore and Bright’s roommate. “A lot of my caucasian friends didn’t know they can get it too.”

It is a common practice by Central Michigan University to group residents based on scholarship, said Bill O'Dell, Troutman Residence Hall Director.

Emmons Hall houses the health professions scholarship recipients, Calkins Hall houses business scholars and Larzelere houses those in the Honors Program.

O'Dell said about 140 of the 260 Troutman residents are MAC scholars — more than half.

However, recipients can request to be placed in other halls, which has been allowed, O'Dell said.

Saranac senior Richard Geiger, the second floor Troutman resident assistant, said although it’s nice to have MAC students together, sometimes the social interaction with other non-MAC students in the dorms does not happen.

“To some degree they do, but not as much as (non-scholarship) students,” Geiger said. “There are never any problems, it’s just getting them to interact more, which is hard because MAC students are pretty busy.”

Trevor Murphy, a Detroit freshman, said he enjoys living with other MAC scholars. When he sees someone in the hallway, he knows they share something in common.

“They way I see it, we’re all different people,” Murphy said. “So why not get (everyone) together?”

But Murphy does feel there is an uncomfortable distance between the MAC scholars and the non-MAC scholars of Troutman.

“We get along, but they kind of talk amongst themselves,” he said. “It’s kind of a border a little bit, but not a big one.”

O’Dell said he thinks the confusion comes because outsiders see many black students walking into one hall and do not know that a diverse range of nationalities live there based on the MAC scholarship. As many of them share classes and events for their scholarship, O’Dell said living in proximity gives them a support group.

O'Dell once had a dad become upset for thinking his daughter would only be living with other black students and wanted a more diverse living condition. O'Dell explained that her roommates were actually caucasian and asian.

"If you actually walk through our halls, you'll see it's a lot more diverse than you think," O'Dell said.

Meaghan Maloney, a Lake Forest freshman, lives on the fourth floor of Troutman and is not a MAC scholar.

Putting so many MAC scholars together does risk not mixing students, but since she lives there, she said she has noticed some mix after all.

Maloney said she does not feel any border between the MAC and non-MAC residents.

“There’s a ton of different people with different views,” Maloney said. “They’re all really cool.”

The Lloyd Cofer scholarhip is only given to students from Detroit public schools, but MAC is not limited by district. Both are casually referred to as the MAC scholarship.

Up to 10 receive the Cofer per year and up to 44 receive the MAC. Both are worth $4,125 a year. Up to 10 students receive Multicultural Advancement Awards of Distinction, which are worth $10,500 per year.


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