Campus announces increase in resources for multicultural student development

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The Multicultural Community Center, located in Hearst Annex, is home to several campus development porgrams that recently received additional funding to expand resources.

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This fall, the UC Berkeley Multicultural Student Development Programs will undergo a series of changes that will upgrade the services of the African American Student Development Programs, Asian Pacific American Student Development Programs and Chicano Latino Student Development Programs.

The changes that will be implemented are based on recommendations from the Chancellor’s Taskforce on Multicultural Student Development, which was established to create a more systematic approach to understanding the needs of the MSD groups. A 50 percent budget increase will allow for the establishment of a Chancellor’s Multicultural Advisory Board, an addition of three new staff members, funding for paid student interns and physical changes to the MSD offices located in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

“We are really grateful that the chancellor agreed to increase the resources for these programs, and we are excited to start implementing these changes,” said Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri, who led the Chancellor’s Taskforce.

The MSD programs currently each have only one program coordinator, but following the changes, one more staff member will be added to each program. Although the job descriptions for these new staff members have not been decided, the goal is to make the resources of the MSD programs more accessible to students and expand the population that the programs affect.

“At minimum, we have to find space for all this new staff,” Basri said. “This is really going to be trying to figure out an upgrade within the (Cesar Chavez) center. We would very much like to see all of these programs in that space.”

Wendy Pacheco, the 2013-14 ASUC senator-elect endorsed by the RAZA Recruitment & Retention Center, which focuses on increasing the enrollment of Chicano and Latino students in higher education, said she is in support of the changes that are to be implemented but believes that there is a lot of work yet to be done.

“We believe that things are happening in good faith, but we’re just very conscious of ensuring that what was promised happens,” Pacheco said.

Additionally, the MSD programs are receiving funding to pay student interns to promote student leadership development in these communities and increase campus diversity. Basri is hopeful that such improvements will aid in improving the campus climate, as he said that many students who are part of the MSD programs are feeling the least included on campus.

Marcel Jones, chair of the UC Berkeley Black Student Union, said he is hesitant regarding the fulfillment of the task force’s goals but still believes that the tentative changes are a step in the right direction.

“Overall, this is a positive change for our communities, and we are excited to move forward with student involvement and to get these MSD offices to where they deserve.”

Contact Saachi Makkar at [email protected]