Audio: Most of Humboldt State’s Cultural Centers Lacked Funding & Staff For the Academic Year

In February 2017, Humboldt State University’s bilingual newspaper El Lenador, published an article about HSU being unable to retain staff for their cultural centers.

“A year and a half later, the centers have seen low staff retention with all three new coordinators of the AACAE (African-American Center), LCAE (Latinx Center), and the MCC (Multi-Cultural Center) having left to pursue other career opportunities.

The three centers are currently being coordinated by 120-day emergency hires, with the LCAE seeing it’s second interim coordinator this academic year after multiple failed hiring searches since the exit of its first coordinator in the spring of 2016.”

According to El Lenador, the MCC was created in 1993 through student protest as mostly students of color “gathered at Founders Hall and advocated for a place of their own on campus. Marylyn Paik-Nicely, who was the MCC coordinator from 1997- 2015, took part in maintaining the MCC’s structure.”

“I saw that specifically, our students of color that were coming from urban areas really needed a sense of community and we really worked at that,” Paik-Nicely said. “I thought it was very important to have this feeling of a home away from home and to have this place to hang out.”

El Lenador published another article a year later in April 2018 about failed search attempts for a MCC coordinator, as well as a letter that was sent out by students to administration over the absence of appointed staff for the center, which left a heavy burden on the students.

“After the letter was sent out, Mazzotti was reassigned as coordinator, and the application for the coordinator position was officially closed on March 19.

“We have a little bit more of a structure now, but we are fighting for a coordinator that is going to be here for the next 10 years,” Munoz said. “We don’t want people coming in and out. We just want a clear, concise timeline.”

The African-American center has also been experiencing periods of absent staff and a lack of funding for the center, which has put them at a disadvantage of leadership and resources all year.

Like Mazzotti, a faculty member on campus has been temporarily reassigned to the African-American center.

The Latinx Center does have support in place with a current coordinator. With HSU in the midst of a budget crisis, the office of Student Affairs was able to give some money for cultural graduations and events but students still had to fundraise and operate without a set budget.

I sat down with a student who currently works in the African-American center and she shared her thoughts of how this year has been for the center. We also discussed the recent letter that the local NAACP sent out about HSU recruiting minority students without adequate support in place and the changes that she would like to see happen in Arcata.

El Lenador writes: “There must be a reason why such valuable staff are parting ways with the University.”

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About slausongirl

Slauson Girl is a South Central native who has a love for journalism, history and all things Hip-Hop. She holds a B.A in Critical Race & Gender Theory & a Minor in Journalism. Follow Me on IG @Slausongirl

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