Cultural centers justify rights to student fees

Raiza Beltran

Emphasizing the importance of a diverse University community that allows interaction between different cultures, three student cultural centers presented their budget requests Monday to the Student Services Fees Committee.
The Queer Student Cultural and La Raza Student Cultural centers — both embroiled with the University in a legal battle against five University graduate students who claimed their right to free speech was violated — expressed their commitment to preserving cultural diversity on campus.
With an estimated request of $35,000, the QSCC outlined its specific role on campus.
“We have a unique challenge in working with the (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) population in the University,” said Jason Vorbeck, a College of Liberal Arts junior and the QSCC co-chairman, “because many of us are silent and disfranchised.”
QSCC members described the center’s various subgroups, including ARCH, which provides support to students coming out to the gay community; Queer Men and Queer Women; Friends and Allies of GLBT; and Queer Graduate Students and Professional Center, to give committee members a better idea of the services the center provides.
All groups conveyed the importance of creating a “safe space,” described by QSCC Co-Chairwoman T’yanna Singleton as a place “to feel free to be whomever they are and free from judgment or harm.”
Requesting $44,000 from the student services fees, La Raza Student Cultural Center also gave importance to programming as a way to educate the University community and continue to provide services for 350 Chicano students. The five La Raza representatives said the center is a “home away from home.”
La Raza board member Roberto Vasquez said the center’s challenge is to increase low enrollment and graduation rates of Chicano Students.
“We need to keep the numbers,” Vasquez said.
The Disabled Student Cultural Center also presented their budget request of $35,000 Monday evening.

Raiza Beltran covers student life and student government and welcomes comments at [email protected]