Dean of Students Jean DeCosta addressed two incidents in a campus-wide email this past weekend. | File Photo/Mustang News

Sean McMinn

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Student input convinced administrators to keep the Cross Cultural Centers in the Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU), Dean of Students Jean DeCosta said Tuesday.

After a community forum where attendees overwhelmingly opposed a plan to move the Centers to Building 52, a building just north of the University Union Plaza that Cal Poly plans to tear down in the next four or five years, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey decided against the move, DeCosta said.

“It was the student input, the faculty and staff associations that came together,” DeCosta said, when asked about why administrators changed plans. “It was a loud and clear message.”

Building 52 originally presented an opportunity to increase space for the Cross Cultural Centers, which include the Gender Equity Center, Pride Center and MultiCultural Center. The new space would have increased its current area by somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 square-feet, DeCosta said.

But supporters of the Cross Cultural Centers said it needed to stay in the UU, which DeCosta said sees high foot traffic — especially from freshmen and sophomores. A petition online gathered hundreds of signatures against the change, and Cross Cultural Centers assistant director Erin Echols told Mustang News on Monday it would not be moving.

“One of the difficult things at Cal Poly is the University Union has become a central hub for everything,” DeCosta said. “But not everything can live in the University Union if everything is going to expand.”

Though the Cross Cultural Centers gets to keep its home, several offices currently in the UU — including DeCosta and her staff — will move to Building 52 as part of a larger plan to create more hubs on campus in addition to the University Union.

Programs currently being moved to Building 52 are ones in transition, DeCosta said. They will need a permanent home once the building is torn down.

One of the newcomers in Building 52 will be a center for veterans that administrators initially considered putting in the UU.

These changes will help the Cross Cultural Centers expand in its current location, where it will add staff offices and gain a large room formerly occupied by Orientation Programs.

All the switches are coming now because of relatively high spending on these programs compared to during California’s economic downturn, which brought millions of dollars of budget cuts to Cal Poly.

“We have a good problem right now,” DeCosta said. “We have the problem of being able to hire a number of new staff after the economic downfall, and it’s really a gift.”

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