Following the KSUnite rally in front of Anderson Hall on Tuesday, nearly 85 students gathered to discuss the progress towards establishing a multicultural student center. The discussion was led by Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students.
Bosco said he is making progress towards the establishment of a multicultural center, pushing for the project to be finalized.
“I am committed to building a multicultural student center, and I have been for 25 years,” Bosco said. “This is something we have not been able to do here.”
Bosco discussed the need for a center that provides a place for multicultural students to lead and feel safe on campus, making Kansas State an environment to “champion diversity and inclusion.”
Bryan Davis, senior in management information systems, said the Multicultural Student Center has been in the works for well over 15 years, but true progress has been made in the last year.
“The main goals of the center are to provide a stand-alone location that would open up space for us to do more multicultural events and programming,” Davis said. “Not only that, but there would be a resource center for students of color who are lacking knowledge about the resources that we have throughout campus.”
The center would also serve as a place for professors and students to research multiculturalism and recruit new students, Davis said. Plans are in the process of being finalized.
Additionally, Bosco said the search for a chief diversity officer is currently underway and will be announced in December. Meanwhile, Adrian Rodriguez was announced as the associate vice president for student life of diversity and multicultural student affairs Tuesday.
As the discussion progressed, students asked about a timeline for the center’s construction. In response, Bosco said the process is time consuming and slow, but progress is moving forward.
“Little or nothing was done in the past,” Bosco said. “There was a plan in place before, but it wasn’t on my radar. This project is now on my radar and my responsibility.”
Greg Willems, president and CEO of the KSU Foundation, said the establishment of the completion of the Multicultural Student Center will take place within a reasonable timeframe.
“It’ll be less than 10 years; it’ll have to be,” Willems said. “What scale and scope that ends up being, we will all have to accept that.”
A major limit to progress on the project is funding, Bosco said.
“There will be no state money dedicated to a multicultural student center,” Bosco said. “I would like to say the legislature is going to magically allocate dollars to us, but it’s up to us to raise the money privately.”
Despite scarce funding, students remain optimistic and turned the discussion to the location of the multicultural student center. Students and faculty said they want an opinion on the finalized location in hopes of making it accessible to as many people as possible.
“We have heard from all corners of people that location really matters,” said Mary Tolar, director of the Staley School of Leadership Studies. “It needs to be something that can be identifiable and the building is central to campus.”