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MSU Launches Multicultural Center 'Feasibility’ Website, Demands Departments to Advertise



Author: Sergei Kelley


Recent approval by the Board of Trustees and MSU's President for a new multicultural center, has moved MSU’s Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives to demand greater advertising of the project.


On February 24, a directive instructs “Deans, Directors and Chairs” to advertise the new website on their unit’s website, helping “maximum visibility and access.” The directive was sent by the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives Director Paulette Russell.


[RELATED STORY: MSU Launches Undocumented Students Website, Goals Include “Reducing Apprehension”]


Since the announcement by MSU, two committees were launched to further the project. The Multicultural Center Feasibility Study Planning and Multicultural Center Feasibility Study Steering committees consist of staff, faculty, and students.


Student representatives in the committees include the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for the student government, ASMSU, an executive board member of DreaMSU, a pro-sanctuary campus group, and a former president of Culturas de las Razas Unidas.


Further, the chair of the Students for a Multicultural Building and the president of MSU’s Black Student Alliance are members. There are seven total students between the committees.


According to the Students for a Multicultural Building, the goal is for a final plan to be authorized by MSU’s Board of Trustees in October 2020.


[RELATED STORY: MSU Progressive Alliance DEMANDS a Sanctuary Campus, Money, Others]


Another directive, asking MSU departments for “DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Activities,” is still waiting for 20 unit responses according to recent steering committee meeting minutes. The committee hopes to “address concerns from units...and conveying the goal of leveraging programs and strengths and uniting them.”


The building will be directed at programs, not “teaching and classes,” according to meeting minutes from December. Further recorded, students want a central area for multicultural activities which are “highly inclusive.”


In a forum reported by The Morning Watch in April 2019, hosted by a student committee to promote the building of a new multicultural center, several comments were made about the nature of a new center.


It would be a “dreamer center for undocumented students” which would “provide resources and include a staff position, “a person designated for undocumented students,” demanded Shiksha Sneha, now a member of the multicultural center planning committee.


Another current committee member, Sarah McConville made this statement at the April 2019 forum: “This is not just something that would benefit students of color even though if it [the new multicultural center] was something that just benefited us- that wouldn’t be a problem.”


Further, MSU’s whiteness was addressed. A leader of a CORES (Council of Racial and Ethnic Students) group said, “All of your professors don’t even look like you, are all predominantly white, or like all the scholars you’re reading about are predominantly white and male.”


A member of the student committee quickly clarified, “a big understanding of this building is that it’s anti-white. That is not the case.”


[OPINION: MSU’s Racial and Progressive Groups Control ASMSU, Not Students]


The completion of a new free-standing multicultural center would satisfy one of the ten demands made in November 2019 on behalf of CORES and COPS (Council of Progressive Students).


During the 55th Session of ASMSU, a resolution titled, “Examine Possibilities to build a Multicultural Center that serves as a headquarters for CORES/COPS communities to better engage with student body,” was passed April 2019.


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