University of Southern California (USC): Stop the Relocation of USC's El Centro Chicano
IT BEGINS WITH THIS SIGNATURE AND CONTINUES WITH YOUR ACTIONS.
USC is planning to displace El Centro Chicano from the United University Church. The new location is half of El Centro’s current size.
First it was brought to our attention that the displacement was due to financial considerations. Then we were informed that it is not a financial issue, but rather the administration’s concern that cultural groups are not as close as they should. The administration believes the move will increase the synergy between groups.
We value diversity and we value unity between all cultures. We agree in an increase in synergy but we know that the move will not fix the issue and will instead be a greater loss for the entire community. A change in space does not mean that there will be an increase in the interaction and communication between the different groups. This is an internal problem that USC has failed to address. The move is not the solution.
USC STUDENTS, ALUMNI, AND THE COMMUNITY REQUESTED A MEETING WITH USC ADMINISTRATORS, SENT LETTERS EXPRESSING OUR CONCERNS, AND MADE URGENT PHONE CALLS IN AN EFFORT TO GET OUR VOICES HEARD.
We GOT NOTHING but vague responses.
On March 28, 2013, USC ADMINISTRATORS CONFIRMED THAT THEY WILL PROCEED WITH THE DISPLACEMENT.
They DID NOT give us a chance to speak with them regarding our concerns.
They DID NOT listen to our voices. There was NO ATTEMPT from the administration to work with us.
Stopping the displacement of El Centro is IMPORTANT to us because:
1. El Centro Chicano (ECC) has historically served an underrepresented community in fostering an open space for activities and organizations that aid in USC’s goals of increased diversity, retention, and graduation.
2. It is highly unlikely that the Student Union (the confirmed location) will allow for the quantity and quality of programming. For instance, the Student Union closes at 5pm. Student organizations that host meetings and events at El Centro, and a handful of students who use the space to study after 5pm will have to find other locations, which are few.
3. ECC’s current space permits a consistent and cultural environment to combat the feelings of isolation and culture shock often experienced by students of color at USC. The United University Church has become the home to many of these students.
4. Such a move will be a loss for not just the Chicano/Latino community but also for the student body; one student’s unheard voice affects all student voices.
5. El Centro is a symbol of unity, diversity, and culture. To lose it, we will be losing a part of what defines our experience as students and a part of what students in the past have fought and paved for.
We want an opportunity to have our voices heard as students. We should not let the administration hold us back. We have the right to give our input on what is best for us.
We want the administration to LISTEN to us, to INCORPORATE us in their decisions, and to STOP IGNORING us. This is OUR EDUCATION and OUR SCHOOL. We deserve to be heard.
This is not just for us but for all students at all schools.
We want a meeting to discuss why we believe El Centro should not be moved and we want to come to a resolution that incorporates our voices.
-El Centro Ambassadors
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