Purchase, NY – State University of New York at Purchase also known as Purchase State College opened a multicultural center on Friday for minority student groups.
In the wake of Black Lives Matters demonstrations on campus and demands for greater diversity in admissions and faculty hiring, the new center sits on the first floor of the campus dormitory known as Fort Awesome. The new multi-culture center is a direct result of student protests, Purchase President Thomas J. Schwarz acknowledged at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We would not be here if not for the fact that students were willing to take the risk and speak out,” Schwarz said. “And I hope we listened.”
Schwarz whose served as the fifth President of Purchase College since 2002, pledged on Friday to continue the college’s efforts to increase diversity while hiring new faculty.
85 percent of the State College’s faculty is white and currently eight percent identify themselves as black or Hispanic, according to a draft diversity plan made public late last year. (Purchase College Diversity Plan)
The Diversity Initiatives Committee at Purchase College-SUNY hopes to ensure that the institution’s goals (both existing and future) continue to align themselves with a strong commitment to diversity. Therefore, our Committee has collected and maintained an accurate guide of the current programs and services on campus that focus on diversity appreciation and/or multicultural education. The information is now available online for all members of the campus community to use in planning, accreditation reports, developing recruitment initiatives, etc.
The new center is the culmination of action taken last semester by student activist groups and Geovanna Borden, who graduated from Purchase in May and was hired as the school’s first coordinator of diversity programming and initiatives.
“Diversity and inclusion is not a one-step shop,” Borden said. “It’s a constantly evolving process that needs to be examined from all different sides.”
In addition to opening the multicultural center and creating Borden’s position, the college has agreed to student demands to reinstate the discontinued Global Black Studies minor during the current semester and announced plans to introduce a Black Women Leadership initiative as one of several new programs housed in the facility.
According to the institutions website; The minor in global black studies provides students with analytical lenses, tools, and frameworks for the development of a multidimensional understanding of the black experience, with a particular focus on the interdependent nature of local and global black dynamics. Students in any discipline may pursue this minor by submitting a completed Application for a Program of Minor Study.
State Sen. George Latimer, a Democrat from Rye, presented the school with a Senate certificate of merit commemorating the center at Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.