Western President Bruce Shepard sent a message to the Western Washington University community this morning regarding plans for the Ethnic Student Center on campus.
Dear Western Community,
I am writing to you about Western’s Ethnic Student Center. The current space is inadequate. I could give you paragraphs of stats but this picture says it all.
And, I am writing directly to you for it is a pressing need that requires our best ideas, those ideas solidly grounded in informed understandings.
This is the kind of challenge we should be pleased to have. As Western has become ever more diverse – and, as our students of color have become ever more engaged and active in enriching the quality of campus life – facilities built for an earlier era fail to meet the needs of today. And, thinking ahead to an increasingly diverse Western, you can see why this matter deserves our full attention.
And that it has had. Our full attention. Including me and beginning several years ago.
The initial plan, collaboratively developed with the Associated Students (AS) leadership at the time, was to expand and remodel the space currently used by the Ethnic Student Center (ESC). Space issues are always a sensitive matter for folks would need to be moved in order to allow the expansion. So planning took time. But, planning was going forward and, some time ago, $1.5M had been budgeted for the expansion and remodel.