Student center

ANSWER: The Multicultural Student Center is a step forward, not back

Vedant Kulkarni, a junior in management information systems and mass communications, is SGA’s director of international affairs. (John Chapple | Collegiate Media Group)

On Friday, September 20, another student submitted an op-ed for publication in the Collegian. In it, they criticized Kansas State’s decision to build a multicultural student center. I want to give my opinion on the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center and its importance for students like me.

I am a non-Caucasian international student at K-State. Every day I come to campus and attend my classes. Throughout my time at K-State, I was the only international student in a few of my classes. There were times when I was the only non-Kansan student in my class. This demographic led me to adopt a false identity. I was a different person in my classes and a different person when I was with my friends.

The same thing happens with me when I’m at Student Governors Association and Student Foundation meetings: I take on this fake American identity in a quest to try to fit in, but I end up lying to myself. I’ve suffered from this feeling ever since I’ve been here at K-State. I’m sure that, just like me, there are many more students on campus who experience peer pressure and adopt false identities to fit in in their classes and on campus.

The author of the previous opinion piece mentions how the Morris Family Multicultural Students Center somehow promotes racial segregation, discriminates against Caucasian students, and goes against the principles of the grand Martin Luther King Jr.

This argument could not be further from the truth.

To begin with, the author does not seem to understand the definition of the words “multicultural students”. It seems that he confuses the word “multicultural” and “multiracial”. In the words of Bryan Samuel, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, “…diversity and multiculturalism are so much bigger than just race. »

Likewise, MSC is not only for students of different races, but also a student center for students of different nationalities, students from the LGBTQI+ community, students of different religions, students with accessibility issues , first-generation students, etc. The MSC has been specifically defined and designed to accommodate all students who identify with different identities.

The main mission of the MSC is to promote and improve the cultural competence of students. This means engaging students in meaningful dialogue about celebrating our differences by hosting events that explore our intersectional identities. It will serve as a resource center for students like me who sometimes don’t feel our voices are heard on campus or feel unwelcome.

This does not mean that students who do not identify with different identities or students from the majority community are excluded from being part of this fabulous project. On the contrary, the MSC would like all students to have better participation and help students understand how to be tolerant, tolerant and more accommodating towards other students.

The Morris Family Multicultural Student Center would provide students like me with the opportunity to be ourselves. The center is designed to make students feel good about themselves. Along with this, it will be a learning opportunity for students to understand diversity, equity and inclusion in the 21st century.

Students like me don’t always feel comfortable everywhere. We need space to be ourselves and it shouldn’t just be our apartments. If we don’t feel comfortable anywhere on campus, we deserve to have a space where we feel relaxed, reassured and confident in ourselves.

It’s easy for students like the author of the previous opinion piece, who feel comfortable anywhere in this country because of their current privilege, to say that the MSC is useless. They have never experienced what we have to endure every day.

The author of the previous letter also compared the MSC to segregation. This argument is very short and misguided. The MSC does not separate students. Segregation would mean having different colleges and classes for students with different identities. It’s not the MSC.

The MSC is built so that students, who identify differently from the majority community, feel more welcomed and encouraged on campus and be a resource for student success.

It is of paramount importance that all students understand that the Morris Family Multicultural Students Center will be a center of inclusivity, not a means of mindless segregation.

President Richard Myers at KUnite 2018 spoke about K-State’s goal of creating globally ready students who understand the power of inclusion and diversity: that goal is what the MSC stands for.

We are a united campus and we are united in our diversity. Therefore, to say that the MSC is a step backwards is not only ignorant, but downright futile. The presence of a Multicultural Student Center on campus is a demonstration of strength, campus harmony and progressiveness. The Morris Family Multicultural Students Center is a step towards better integrating students into K-State. This will ensure that all student voices are heard.

The author of the previous opinion piece needs to understand that diversity is a strength, not a weakness, and the Student Multicultural Center will be a place to demonstrate that strength. It’s not a “student fantasy” to feel good about, it’s a platform to feel included at K-State.

To quote Audre Lorde, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate these differences.

Vedant Deepak Kulkarni is a junior in management information systems and mass communication. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official College policy or position. Please send your comments to [email protected]