UCB requests Senate “step up” in support of funds for the Cultural Connections Center.
Kelly Hinseth | Staff Writer
On Monday, September 21, Bethel’s Student Senate meeting had a significantly higher attendance than usual. Senate was being asked by United Cultures of Bethel to “step up” and pass a bill that would fund the Cultural Connections Center. The requested money would go toward a variety of resources including books and artifacts as part of the addition.
The Cultural Connections Center, or CCC, is an idea that was born last year and was completed during the summer. The center is located on the third floor of the Hagstrom Center, across from the music lounge. The grand opening of the space will take place on October 10, but the CCC is effectively open to students and faculty right now.
A variety of different organizations have contributed funds and resources for creation of this space, yet those in favor of the bill argue that Senate should play their part financially.
“We want senate to partner with the CCC,” Conor Rasmusen, director of Voz Latina for UCB, said “We cannot reconcile if this campus is not together on this decision.”
There were no clear objections brought forth by any Senate member or outside spectators at the hearing. However, several members were hesitant with the decision to move forward.
The bill would call for about $4,500 dollars from the Senate. This allocation of funds would set them behind in their budget, which some say is extra troublesome given the fact that the calendar has not yet turned to October. Some members raised objections to using an amount of money that large in the budget all at once. “This would be a very unique thing for senate,” Stephen Tetzlaff, President pro tempore said. “This isn’t what we standardly do.”
But many were outspoken in favor of the bill, noting the positive impact it would have for the CCC and, in turn, Bethel’s student body as a whole. “Nothing benefits this campus more than having this center and these resources,” senate member Jillian Drewes said. “We need to get our priorities straight, because we have the money.”
“Students are already coming into the center feeling discriminated against, and it’s only the fourth week of classes,” Jenniah Fredericks, Director of Asian Christian Fellowship for UCB added. “The CCC gives students a chance to foster their own identity and to let them know that they are not alone.”
After a lengthy discussion surrounding the bill, Senate took a vote and a five-minute recess to count the votes. In the end, the bill passed with 11 votes for and only three against.
The day after the bill was passed, Leah Fulton, Associate Dean of Intercultural Student Programs & Services, spoke on the number of students and alumni who were present and voicing their support for the bill. “We are not just talking about books and movies,” Fulton said, “This is a demonstration of the value of student’s existence.”