DeKALB — NIU is working to finalize the relocation of the Asian American Resource Center after a call for action by students earlier this year.
There is no definite timeline in place, but Chief Diversity Officer Vernese Edghill-Walden said she hopes a move is completed by spring break. Edghill-Walden declined to share specific locations that are being considered, as some currently are being used; however, Walden and acting Provost Chris McCord shared some of the options with students who are a part of the resource center in November.
“We have been communicating with the students, even before the demonstration, to talk to them about what their needs were and let them know we were considering options for relocating,” Edghill-Walden said.
Students from the resource center marched on campus for the second year in a row Oct. 27, calling for renovations to their facility, 429 Garden Road. The center hasn’t received any type of renovations in 13 years, and students have been requesting action for more than four years, according to an Oct. 31 Northern Star article.
Acting President Lisa Freeman acknowledged in her Sept. 20 State of the University address the university has struggled in helping their Asian-American students.
“We also value our Asian-American students and recognize that they need a new space for their resource center,” Freeman said. “And I want to be honest here and tell you that we’ve not moved in this direction at the pace we should have, but we’re working on it, and I’m committing to you that we will have a resolution during this academic year.”
Edghill-Walden has been working with McCord to find a new location for the Asian American Resource Center.
Edghill-Walden said the biggest thing resource center students and staff wanted in a new facility is more space they can use for business.
“What they wanted was a larger space,” Edghill-Walden said. “A space where they could hold small functions. A place where they could hold meetings.”
McCord toured the current facility in October with resource center members and discussed some of the future plans.
“It’s an old facility,” McCord said in an Oct. 27 interview with the Northern Star. “Their concerns about it are sort of livability just as a space and functionally for their specific needs, and their concerns are quite reasonable.”
Edghill-Walden said she views this as an opportunity for the resource center and the community at large to grow.
“The Asian American Resource Center has been a very important part of the NIU community,” Edghill-Walden said. “I look forward to, along with faculty and staff, the opportunity to grow and put students in a space they are excited about.”
Representatives of the Asian American Resource Center declined comment.