UCONN SDS fights to save cultural centers
Storrs, CT – Members of the University of Connecticut’s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapter are rallying to defend the campus’ cultural centers after the new UCONN president’s attack on the Diversity and Inclusion program. On September 28, members of the UCONN board of trustees voted to appoint Radenka Maric as the new president of the University of Connecticut. This decision, without consent from the student body, comes on the heels of Maric’s recent campaign to restructure funding for the diversity and equity program that cuts the budgets of many cultural centers.
In the case of the Native American cultural center, they now claim they have only $5000 to spend on staff and resources this year – far lower than in years past. For reference, the Puerto Rican center previously boasted a budget of $25,000.
Other centers, including the Middle Eastern center, are also being targeted, as a direct result of Maric’s budget streamlining plans. Where many of these centers used to be able to hire 4 staff to work at once, having one active staff member is now the norm.
Students are assembling quickly to defend the centers, which are critical safe spaces for oppressed nationality students on campus. UCONN SDS is leading the charge with their “Speak Out!” event, being held next week. They are inviting students who have been affected by these happenings to join them in calling out and condemning Radenka Maric’s actions.
“Radenka is a president who doesn’t appear to have the students’ best interest in mind,” says Jordan Noto, who is organizing with UCONN SDS, “she’s been hired to do the board’s bidding,”
The protest calls on the student body to agitate and defend the cultural centers by forcing Radenka to step down as UCONN’s president.
This isn’t Radenka’s first run-in with controversy. Last February, she found herself at the center of a Students for Justice for Palestine rally, after visiting Israel on an economic development mission. SJP also now faces budget cuts in the wake of her cultural center restructuring.
The protest will take place on Sunday, October 16 at 2 p.m. on the UCONN campus.