New Multicultural Center approved
Last year, when the Black Student Alliance, or BSA, made a list of demands after a string of racial events on the MSU campus, a new, freestanding Multicultural Center was on the list.
Nearly a year later, that demand has yet to be fulfilled, but the project took a huge step forward Friday, journalism senior and BSA President Silver Moore said.
During the MSU Board of Trustees’ monthly meeting on Friday, the board approved an authorization to plan a new Multicultural Center and a North Neighborhood Engagement Center. The project is expected to cost about $10 million, but could change based on the design, according to the meeting agenda.
Moore said the board’s decision to create a new Multicultural Center shows the university is taking action in its attempts to work with the BSA.
“Diversity is something we as a university … are supposed to pride (ourselves on),” Moore said. “… Providing this place helps cultivate a culture on this campus.”
The Multicultural Center will continue to be in the Union, but will be moved from the basement to the second floor, which will help increase its visibility, said Denise Maybank, MSU’s interim vice president for Student Affairs and Services.
The Engagement Center also will be moved to the second floor of the Union from its temporary location on the third floor once the current construction of the first floor is completed.
Moore said having a Multicultural Center is essential to reaching the university’s goals. She said the university has a goal to get the six-year graduation rates up to 80 percent.
“You can’t do that accurately if you don’t address the students of color whose graduation rates are extremely low (at 56 percent),” Moore said. “(At) universities that have multicultural centers, students of color tend to have better graduation and retention rates.”
Maybank said the university needs to step up its game to embrace the 21st-century student — a student who has many identities.
“In reality, we are going to be so far behind,” Maybank said. “(If we don’t promote diversity better), people are going to come (to MSU) and say, ‘I don’t fit into the boxes you have created.’”
The board also approved the appointment of Fred Poston to the position of dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Poston currently is serving as the vice president for finance and operations and will replace Douglas Buhler on Jan. 1, 2013. Buhler served as the interim dean of the college since January 2011.
“At a time that (this college) is in transition, (the college) will benefit from your leadership,” Trustee Dianne Byrum said to Poston during the meeting. “(This is) not an easy job, but it is about the best interest of team MSU, and this is in the best interest (of team MSU).”