By Bailey Campagna —
In a townhall meeting March 19, Interim President Greg Postel told students there are no plans to tear down the Cultural Center or relocate its programs.
“We are not tearing this building down. There’s no point in it because we’re not ready to build a new one,” he said.
Postel said the building should be condemned at the SGA meeting Feb. 14. Engineers inspected the center and recommended it be demolished.
University spokesperson John Karman said nothing is imminent, but plans call for the building to be razed and the temporary offices to be established in Strickler Hall.
But Postel said there are no such plans.
Postel said it is unknown where organizations and programs within the Cultural Center would be moved to when the new building begins construction.
“Buildings are in short supply and we’d have to give a lot of thought about where the Cultural Center should go,” he said.
Mordean Taylor-Archer, vice provost for diversity & international affairs, said moving to Strickler Hall was no longer an option because other organizations will now be occupying the space where REACH is located.
“The spaces in Strickler Hall will be occupied by the LGBT Center, the Women’s Center and Diversity Education and Inclusive Excellence,” she said. “That pretty much takes all of the space that’s there.”
Taylor-Archer said past plans for a new Cultural Center have fallen through due to a lack of student and administrative commitment.
“In my opinion, it never got any traction because we had lone voices, but it never had the student momentum with it,” she said.
Students in attendance said they wanted a written commitment, so when changes in leadership occur, the Cultural Center will still be built.
Postel said he was willing to make a university wide commitment, but noted he can’t make a meaningful one individually as interim president since he could be gone by next year.
“I can’t make a document out to commit a president other than me to some course of action,” he said.
Postel said building a new Cultural Center would require its own funding.
He said administration beginning a search for a diversity advancement officer. The newly created position would be in charge of fundraising for diversity and inclusion initiatives. This includes the construction of a new Cultural Center.
Postel said some universities bundle a diversity fee in students’ tuition. He said a $50 per year fee could pay for the building. This could replace the student athletic fee that was just reduced to $50.
Cultural Center administrators will create a task force of 10 students to articulate student opinions about the Cultural Center to the administration.
“We’re taking the decisions we make in meetings and letting those 10 people reiterate those decisions to the administration,” Brianna Worrell, director of the Engage Lead Serve Board’s Equality and Justice committee, said.
Students can file an application to become a member of this task force on the Cultural Center’s Orgsync page. The application is due March 22.
Photo by Arry Schofield / The Louisville Cardinal