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Students oppose new multicultural space because it’s too welcoming

The space lacks a sense of security ‘when everyone from all types of affinity groups can be there’

Some students at a private university are criticizing a multicultural space on campus there because it is open to too many different types of students.

American University’s Hub for Organizing Multiculturalism and Equity “falls short of what [some students] think a space for students of color should be,” the student newspaper The Eagle reports.

“HOME doesn’t provide people with a sense of security, with a sense of belonging, when everyone from all types of affinity groups can be there,” the newspaper reports one student as saying.

The space, which was “created in reaction to racist incidents over the past two years and a reported lack of a sense of belonging on campus,” features couches, chairs, beanbags and a television set. Prior to its creation “there were no spaces where students of color felt safe,” one staff member claimed.

However, because “any student can request access to the space,” some university members are criticizing the room as too welcoming.

From the report:

“I would say it’s a concept that should expand beyond a single room,” said Michael Elmore, the director of University Center. “When I’m walking around campus, this should be the principle that we’re all living under: basic respect, basic agreement on civility and human rights.”

However, some students say that the purpose of the room is lost by making the space open to all students.

“I understand why they would’ve opened it to everyone because exclusivity isn’t something that’s really garnered on campus,” sad Sam Liang, a sophomore and finance co-director for the Asian American Student Union. “But it makes it feel like the point of it isn’t there anymore.”

In addition to the demands for a less-inclusive multicultural space, some students are also demanding a “black house,” a living community meant solely for black students, The Eagle reports.

One campus official said she is “continuing to develop the idea of creating a living learning community for black students, and that the next steps include surveying the interest for a space and comparing that with AU’s inventory of housing.”

Read the whole report here.

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