Students are concerned about the resources of the cultural center
Nearly 40 students gathered on the second floor of the Students’ Union on Wednesday night to voice their concerns about the recent treatment of UConn’s cultural centers and cultural programs.
The meeting was moderated by Mason Holland, the current student body president and a seventh semester political science student. Holland, among other students, has raised concerns about funding and the availability of student staff positions at cultural centers.
“Why is this year different from last year? Because we can’t deny the fact that it is,” Holland told the band.
Representatives from several cultural centers, undergraduate student government, the Daily Campus and the UConn student activist group UNCHAIN were present.
The students discussed their discomfort with recent visits by Acting President Radenka Maric. Maric has been criticized in the past by student activist groups for her stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Late Wednesday night, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion released a statement about the rumored budget cuts.
“First, cultural centers are NOT ‘funded’ and their budgets have NOT been cut,” the statement said.
The statement, which is signed by UConn’s director of diversity, Dr Frank Tuitt, said some of the excess funding from ODI’s operating budget had been used to support cultural centers and programs.
“Over the past few years, ODI has been able to support the programming and staffing of PRLACC, NACP and MECP using unspent funds from our operating budget,” the statement read.
“This year, to maintain our commitment to support Native American Cultural Programs (NACP) and Middle Eastern Cultural Programs (MECP), ODI has made the decision to redistribute a portion of funding intended for Cultural Centers to support this priority.”
ODI did not dispute that this resulted in budgetary changes for some organisations.
“As a result of this decision, each of the cultural centers will have a slightly lower operating budget for this academic year than last year,” the statement read.
When asked to comment, the university responded with the ODI statement.
Holland said regardless of the circumstances of the budget changes, students should keep talking about cultural centers.
“You have the right to ask for more,” Holland said.