New director Jamar Bean advocates for OSU’s Black students


Fern Barber

Jamar Bean outside the Black Cultural Center on October 7, 2022. Jamar is the new Center Director, he started just a month ago.

Adriana Gutierrez, News Reporter

On Jamar Bean’s second day as center director for the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, he was greeted with a hug by a student he hadn’t met yet. For him, it showed the importance of his role in fostering a community where students could feel like they had people who looked like them and lived their same experiences.

“It’s like I had known them before,” Bean said about meeting student staff. “We mesh really well, which is odd because that typically doesn’t happen so quickly. It’s usually something you have to build.”

Rebuilding is the name of the game this year for Bean, as he works to revamp the look and resources provided in the center, all the while finding his groove as the new director. 

Bean graduated from Oregon State University in 2011 with a Human Development and Family Sciences degree, and left to work for University of Oregon in 2014. He then worked in the Office of Student Orientation START program between 2017 and 2020.

Following a short stint as an Oregon Duck, Bean returned back to OSU. Once more, he left to UO to serve as a Program Advisor for their Multicultural Centers before returning to OSU this September. 

“Having been a student on this campus, I understand how Black students specifically fall through the cracks as far as support and resources,” Bean said. “So I try to make sure I focus on making sure that our students feel supported, that they feel like they’ve got people here that want them to succeed and that they always have help.”

He pointed towards some of the upcoming events for the BCC — PreKwanzaa, Black Excellence and Black History Month — as a way for Black students on campus to find their “home away from home.”

Transplanting into Oregon from Houston, Bean spoke of his issues being a Black student at a predominantly white institution and the culture shock he felt when stepping into Corvallis spaces. 

While he had plans to transfer out of OSU and into a Historically Black College or University, he met his wife in his junior year and has remained in Oregon since. 

“I plan on being here. I never really wanted to leave the first time,” Bean said, emphasizing that he’s always been a Beaver at heart. 

“Oregon State is home for me, so it feels good to be home. It feels good to be in a familiar space, surrounded by people that look like me. I’ve never had that in my professional career. Ever.”

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