Black and Latino student groups at the University of Florida recently protested a plan to house their organizations in one building, saying it would erase and marginalize their black and brown bodies and their cultures at the predominantly white institution.
The students who were upset with the shared-building concept belong to two groups on campus, the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Culture, also called La Casita.
The university recently razed the two old homes that housed the Black and Latino student groups as part of a construction project and had pushed a blueprint to replace those two facilities with a U-shaped building that would house both the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Culture.
The two groups would each get their own wing of the building and simply share a walkway and elevator. The blueprint included an assembly room in which they could host joint activities, and in which other students groups could use it as well.
But members of the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Culture expressed fury at the plan for a variety of reasons.
Their fervent protests throughout the summer, which included a march through campus, a petition, and numerous community meetings, led administrators to agree to build the Institute of Black and Latino institutes their own separate buildings.
“Some students felt strongly that the buildings remain absolutely independent, and so the Core Committee, who was charged with making a recommendation to Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, pushed for two completely separate structures, with no shared assembly space,” Margot Winick, a spokeswoman for the university, said in an email to The College Fix.