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LGBTQIA programs and services finds new assistant director

Nell Gross

After starting the school year with a vacancy, the assistant director of LGBTQIA programs and services position has finally been filled.

Kari Jo Freudigmann will take over the position beginning Oct. 1. Freudigmann currently serves as the programming coordinator of the LBGTQIA Student Resource Center at Penn State.

The search for a new assistant director began last spring, when former assistant director Jonathan Pryor announced he was leaving UMKC.

The school recently narrowed the search down to three candidates.

Those finalists spent time getting to know the campus, giving presentations to the interview committee and participating in open presentations to the public.

Dakota Allen, president of Pride Alliance, was one of the students involved in the final stages of the selection process.

“All three of our candidates were amazing,” Allen said. “We really had the pick of the best. Kari Jo is amazing, and we really look forward to what she’s going to bring to the table. She has a lot of ideas specifically for our campus, and a lot of experience implementing those ideas.”

Pryor’s departure left a number of gaps to fill. In addition to serving as assistant director of LGBTQIA programs and services, he advised three LGBTQIA groups on campus.

“It definitely has been a lot of work for the office of LGBTQIA programs and services to not have an entire role,” Allen said. “Jonathan, in his role last year and years before, has done so much for the office.”

Staff from the Office of Student Involvement will continue working with student leaders, doing what they can to pick up the slack until Freudigmann’s arrival next month.

Filling the gap left by Pryor left isn’t the only reason Freudigmann’s arrival is greatly anticipated. Director of the Office of Student Involvement, Todd Wells, is looking forward to working with someone known for innovation.

“I’m looking forward to Kari Jo’s new ideas, and the excitement that’s building around what can be new, what can be different, and the motivation of our students toward the completion of their degrees,” Wells said. “We want to be here to support that … I think she is going to bring a lot of experience and student success, and then new innovative programs that motivate our students to press through when things get difficult.”

The office is rescheduling the rained out ice cream social originally scheduled for the first week of school as a way for students to meet Freudigmann’s once she arrives.

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