It seems like diversity is dead at the University of Florida.
University administrators gave in to demands by black and Latino student groups at the school to provide separate buildings for each after a summer of protests and petitions.
The Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Culture, also called La Casita, fought plans by the university to house their organizations in one building following a construction project that razed the two old homes that formerly housed the Black and Latino student groups, The College Fix reported.
Members of the group fought back, however, when the University of Florida announced plans to replace those two facilities with one U-shaped building giving the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Culture each their own wing and a shared walkway, elevator and assembly room.
But the groups protested, marching on campus, launching petitions and holding meetings. Interestingly, they formed one new group, “No La IBCita,” to voice their dissent. Students even stormed into an ongoing Multicultural and Diversity Affairs board meeting in July voicing their demands. University officials apparently did nothing to stop the disruption.
Khyra Keeley, a student with the Institute of Black Culture, wrote in a July 11 letter to the editor of the student newspaper, that combining the buildings would mean “not only working to erase the histories of the black and Latino communities at UF, but also to further disregard the needs and concerns of students of color within a predominantly white institution.”
Another student member of No La IBCita told The College Fix that the one-building design “erases our own mark on this campus and we get absorbed into ‘the Gator Nation’ without ever feeling a sense of home.”
Daniel Clayton added that the university had made the students feel like they didn’t “really matter” and equated the battle over the building to historic American struggles over rights and freedoms.
“Here’s what I have to say to everyone that says this matter was over-the-top: F*** YOU,” Clayton wrote in an email to The College Fix. “Was it over the top when Martin Luther King and many others led the Civil Rights Movement? Was it over the top when suffragettes protested in order to get women the right to vote? Was it over the top when hundreds of students withdrew from the University of Florida in the 70’s in order to work to break the stronghold of racism on campus?”
The university gave in and UF administrators agreed to build the two institutes their own separate buildings.
“Some students felt strongly that the buildings remain absolutely independent, and so the Core Committee, who was charged with making a recommendation to Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, pushed for two completely separate structures, with no shared assembly space,” Margot Winick, a spokeswoman for the university, told The College Fix.
“Each has had its own identity and programming, and will again, once they are rebuilt,” Winick said.
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