Students 'bark for the AARC' in campus protest

Students involved with the Asian American Resource Center held a demonstration Thursday to bring awareness to the center, and its need for renovations.

DeKALB — Members of the Asian American Resource Center held signs and chanted “13 years too long” during a Thursday march meant to call attention to their need for a new space.

This was the second year members of the resource center held the event in an effort to bring attention to the increased use of the facility and the 13 years since the center had any type of renovations, said Christian Moy, senior rehabilitation services major.

“Last year, we received a response, but it was the first time [we held a demonstration], so no one really knew what was going on,” Moy said. “This year, people knew what it was; they knew what we were fighting for.”

Moy said members of the center’s student renovation committee have waited four years to have the concerns addressed.

“We try to let them know where we are and what the Asian American Resource Center is,” said Josh Pak, exercise physiology graduate student, during the demonstration. “We want to make our presence known on campus.”

After the march, members of the Asian American Resource Center gathered in their fireplace room to discuss some of their concerns with acting Provost Chris McCord.

The walls of the resource center had blue sticky notes peppered throughout the building that displayed the members’ thoughts about the building.

One of the concerns voiced during the meeting was about space; students said the resource center is not able to accommodate large groups of people because the building is small and cluttered.

Students then took McCord on a tour of the building and showed him what they found problematic about the space such as it being inaccessible for individuals with disabilities.

“It’s an old facility,” McCord said. “Their concerns about it are sort of livability just as a space and functionally for their specific needs, and their concerns are quite reasonable.”

Acting President Lisa Freeman spoke about the resource center’s need for a new space during her Sept. 20 State of the University address and recognized the pace has been slower than it should have been. She also promised a resolution within the academic year.

“What often times stands in the way of getting things done how and when we want to is our lack of financial resources,” Freeman said during the address. “And in fact, our fiscal situation remains NIU’s No. 1 challenge.”

McCord said he believes the students understand a solution requires a multi-step process that involves several different offices within the university, such as the President’s Office and the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

“We’re trying to identify near term space that will meet their needs,” McCord said. “Our goal is to identify space by the end of next month and move them before the start of the spring semester.”