Save The Resource Centers at UMASS!

  • by: FUSE
  • target: UMASS Amherst Administrators

 

The Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) is a new program to be put into effect Fall 2010. All Academic Success programs i.e., the Committee for the Collegiate Education of Black and other Minority Students (CCEBMS), United Asia Learning Resource Center (UALRC), Native American Student Services (NASS) and the Bilingual Collegiate Program (BCP) are being merged into one success center (CMASS) to service the needs of all ALANA students. This proposed center will be located in Wilder Hall which presently houses the Every Woman Center, The Women of Color Leadership Network,  and the Bilingual Collegiate Program. Wilder Hall is located behind Morrill Science Buildings and is not fully accessible. In addition, the space is limited in comparison to what the programs presently used for space. The merging of these programs would cause confusion, disruption and give students a sense of losing their cultural identity. 

 

Currently, each academic center operates by providing resources to meet their specific community%u2019s needs. These resources include but are not limited to academic support, cultural enrichment, student development and institutional diversity. The centers provide students with counseling, tutorial, career service, referrals, mentoring, cultural programming, advocacy, graduate pre-test preparation, academic classes, cultural field trips, computer labs, study space, meeting rooms and leadership conferences. Given the limited staffing of one or two people per program, the academic centers are not operating to their maximum functional capacity as they did in the past years with a full-time staff of 3-11 per program, not including graduate T.A's. However, given the number of hurdles and roadblocks the staff has encountered over the past few years, they are doing a remarkable job trying to meet the needs of over 3,000 students. We have not found any research that states given up ones cultural identity in order to assimilate into the mainstream is more productive.  This one combined center (CMASS) will aim to cater to every ALANA student's needs.

 

In 1968, the CCEBMS program met the needs of a small community of Blacks, and White students. Over the years the population grew, to include Latino, Native Americans and Asians, as a result students fought for their own academic space and autonomy, because their needs were different and not being met.

 

Each of the Academic Success Centers was fought for by students who saw a need for resources that would cater to their individual population's needs. It was through months of fighting that the campus established these academic centers. Once the academic centers were established the students took on the task of fighting for additional space to create cultural centers i.e. MXCC, YKCC, JWECC, and LACC.  

We the undersigned call for a one year delay to study the impact on students now being served by the centers. A committee of faculty, students and staff should be appointed to undertake this work. By merging all academic success centers into one center, there will be no cultural identity to define each population. We want to create an environment where everyone can learn and share their culture without the loss of community.

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