In a campus environment striving for unity, it is unfair to reduce minority student groups into "haves" and "have-nots," yet that is what is happening with the discrepancy in funding between the UA Asian Pacific Resource Center and other minority resource centers. The Asian Pacific Resource Center operates on a total annual budget of $33,900, with an operating budget of $3,000 after building costs, salaries and expenses are paid. This is less than a third of other centers' funding.
The Native American Cultural Resource Center, African American Cultural Resource Center and the Hispano/Chicano Resource Center work with annual budgets that range from $105,000 to $110,000, which leaves between $11,200 and $15,000 for operating budgets.
The centers use their operating budget money to fund cultural events, programs for the community and outreach efforts. All are worthy functions, and necessary to build a community with interests and knowledge beyond our own front doors.
Retention and graduation rates among minority groups are not a foolproof way to measure the value or worth of a resource center, and should not be the only yardstick for funding. Student retention is important but it should be a university-wide effort, not the sole task of resource centers. The centers have additional benefits to offer, to the individual and the community.
Money to equalize the funding should not come at the expense of the other centers, but should illustrate the university community's dedication to cultural diversity. The centers should also work together to make sure all voices are heard.
Building diversity is not an easy endeavor, but it is a valid one. It is also a goal the university has publicly deemed a priority, and actions should follow accordingly.
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