The case for MESACC 


There are currently five cultural centers at the University of Connecticut: The African American Cultural Center, the Asian American Cultural Center, the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center, the Rainbow Center and the Women’s Center. Recently, there has been a re-energized push for another to join these ranks. The Middle Eastern Student Association is campaigning for a Middle Eastern and South Asian Cultural Center to be created.

This idea has been pitched for at least a few years, but the reasons given for its infeasibility have remained the same. Lack of space and lack of funding are legitimate concerns put forth by the administration, but they are problems that have solutions. 

Space has a simple answer. We live in the middle of nowhere, and while UConn is expanding into itself constantly, there is certainly room to spare. There is no reason a theoretical MESACC must be on the fourth floor of the Student Union, at least not to start — most if not all of the cultural centers have moved from their original homes. Logistics as trivial as this are not a valid reason to deny students a place. 

Funding is harder to solve, especially as the state groans over budget cuts. In addition to the facilities themselves, we must also be concerned about properly preparing and staffing the program so it is fit to succeed. That costs time and money to do well.  

However, through the efforts of a cooperative administration, through the support and resources of the other cultural centers, and through the sheer will of the student body, these can be overcome. It may not start at the same advanced stage that we see in the other cultural centers, but anything is better than nothing. It gives room to grow after the first hurdle. 

The history statements of each cultural center remark on the long path toward creation and recognition. AsACC is the most grave of these, recounting an event where students were taunted and harassed as the administration and law enforcement were unable to properly remedy the situation.  

It is important to remember that none of the cultural centers suddenly popped into existence on their own. It was only by the dedicated effort of students, staff and community members that they gained the standing they have now. The Editorial Board commends the efforts of students in campaigning and showing support for the creation of MESACC. (Link to MESACC petition)

UConn is proud of its commitment to diversity, and in general it should be. Our staff and faculty have shown themselves to be thoughtful and hardworking time and time again. But it is not a goal to reach and then be done with. It is a constant process we work toward in our every action. And so, we urge UConn to take another step forward and properly consider a Middle Eastern and South Asian Cultural Center.  

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