Resource-center members express relocation fears

by Raiza Beltran

About 20 students from multicultural centers and other campus groups held a forum Thursday at the American Indian Student Cultural Center to raise concerns about their place at the University.
Just weeks after several student groups were forced to relocate because of Coffman Union’s Nov. 15 closing, University administrators have again proposed moving other cultural centers to a different campus location.
Multicultural and Academic Affairs officials suggested moving four learning-resource centers and two other groups to Klaeber Court at 320-16th Ave. S.E., on the edge of the East Bank campus.
According to a statement issued Thursday by the learning-resource centers, students “are very concerned about any proposed move that would adversely impact the academic, personal and cultural experiences of students of color.”
The African American, Asian/Pacific, Chicano/Latino and American Indian learning-resource centers will be affected by the proposed move. The Diversity Institute and the Minnesota Women’s Center might also be relocated.
Julius Erolin, director of the Asian/Pacific center, said students need a permanent home. Representatives from the centers have made a request to Nancy Barcelo, vice president of Multicultural and Academic Affairs.
Erolin said Barcelo has asked other administrators to provide one building for all University multicultural offices and other student cultural centers.
“Right now the Chicano/Latino (center) is a place where people can study and go seek advice,” said Renilda Muggli, a College of Liberal Arts sophomore. “They are not going to have an extra hour to go to Klaeber Court to get the help they need. I can see the numbers dropping dramatically.”
University President Mark Yudof said he plans to meet with Barcelo and learning-resource center representatives to address the concerns.
“We want to do whatever is comfortable with them,” Yudof said. “We are willing to work with the centers to make them happy and thrive on campus.”
Although Barcelo tabled the proposed move this week, students at Thursday’s forum said they feel a general lack of support from the University administration.
“We are formulating input from students to put the (move) into a larger context,” said Emmanuel Ortiz, a La Raza Student Cultural Center board member. “The University administration has shown an extreme lack of appreciation for multiculturalism on campus.”

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