After three relocations and multiple discussions with campus to establish a permanent space, the Latinx Student Resource Center, or LSRC, faces further challenges after losing $800,000 in funding.
The original donation was given to campus in annual installments of $100,000 over ten years and was intended to help establish a permanent space as well as further staff the LSRC, said Melissa Palmerin, a fifth-year campus transfer student and founding organizer of the LUCHA4LSRC coalition. The coalition, formed this year, aims to advocate for a permanent space for the center and Latine students on campus.
According to the statement put out by the coalition, the donor, a campus alumnus, pulled out their donation after campus administration allegedly “mishandled” the funds.
In response to this allegation, campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore said in an email that donors have discretion on the use of funds, including the right to pull out during the donation process. Gilmore also confirmed that $100,000 was gifted to the LSRC fund, and that $800,000 is still “pending.”
“In the interim, campus leadership has been in constant contact with the LSRC over the past year to secure long-term space,” Gilmore said in the email. “Several proposals were offered and rescinded based on student requests and needs.”
Issues with finding a permanent space for the LSRC go back to 2019, when students met with campus administration to discuss locations and proposals. According to LUCHA4LSRC, Chancellor Carol Christ promised they would receive a permanent space by 2025.
In 2022, the LSRC established a space in the Hearst Gym Basement. Palmerin noted that they spent roughly $200,000 to keep the LSRC functioning in this location, and the community were able to hire new staffers, provide food for Latine students and plan events.
However, due to flooding in fall 2022, the LSRC was temporarily relocated to the Hearst Field Annex Building B, or HFA-B, in spring 2023.
Their time in this space, however, was also short-lived; during the summer, members of the community were asked to relocate for a third time into Hearst Field Annex Building C, or HFA-C, according to Ana Jimenez, fourth year and co-internal development facilitator for the LSRC.
Palmerin added that campus administrators proposed to expand and renovate this new temporary location, as opposed to sourcing a permanent one.
“HFA-C is a temporary space, so to a donor, that doesn’t make sense logistically because it … won’t be serving the community in the long term,” Palmerin said.
One of Jimenez’ reservations moving into HFA-C was sharing the building with the Center of Educational Partnerships, noting that they would be “taking space” from other students of color as well as using a location reserved for private events.
Jimenez further noted that Latine leaders from organizations across campus have shared similar concerns on the frequent relocation of the center. On Aug. 21, the coalition and student leaders sent out a counterproposal to campus administration outlining “non-negotiable” demands, including receiving the funding that was pulled out as well as receiving a permanent space for Latine students on campus.
In the meantime, the counterproposal also demands renovations to the temporary location including expanding the space and implementing repairs.
“For us this wasn’t just about convenience, this was about our lives, this is about the thriving of Latine students,” Palmerin said.