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Legislature Calls for Open Process for Africana Center Realignment

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Legislature Calls for Open Process for Africana Center Realignment

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
By a vote of 13-2, the Legislature urged Cornell University Administrators to engage in an open, inclusive process in implementing plans to restructure the University's Africana Studies and Research Center, as they change it from the cross-disciplinary, intercollegiate unit that it has been since its founding in 1969 to an administrative unit with the College of Arts and Sciences. (Legislators Dooley Kiefer and Carol Chock dissented.)

Legislators in June had declined to support a different resolution concerning Africana, requesting that the restructuring be delayed. The latest resolution,/approved tonight, asks that Cornell administrators consider all implications of its realignment and encourages the University to commit itself to an open process with the support of the majority of Center faculty in selecting permanent leadership, and it strongly recommends that Center faculty be included in the process of the restructure. It was noted that members and supporters of Africana have asked for the Legislature's support on this issue.

Legislator Nathan Shinagawa said this resolution, unanimous supported by the budget committee and the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee is forward-looking, and several Legislators who voted against the prior resolution said they were prepared to support the latest action. Both Legislators Chock and Kiefer said they could not support the resolution, since they do not believe the Legislature should be weighing in on the matter. Legislator Kathy Luz Herrera called it a "historic moment," maintaining activism always has been, and should continue to be a part of Africana, and the issue is important, not only for the community of color, but for the entire community.