Students respond to PRCC closure
The Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC), a center dedicated to providing “programs and services that encourage the appreciation of the diverse perspectives, experiences, and cultures of many under-represented communities” at Penn State, announced Monday night that the center would close, due to lack of student support.
The closure prompted many responses from students and faculty, including Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims, telling The Underground that he is “concerned about unintended messages the closure may send.”
Many students have taken to social media and group messages to discuss the closure and what it means going forward.
The Underground spoke to a few students on campus to get their perspective of the closure.
“I personally think it’s the best path to take in order to gain more support for the PRCC, but I honestly think they’re doing this more so for their own mental health,” said Shanille Allo, a senior biology major. “I think they’re tired and disappointed from the lack of support they’ve received lately and I would be too if I were in their position.”
While there was no specific event that made the center shut its door, the lack of student support could be seen this past weekend, during a Hip-Hop Summit sponsored by the center.
Thank you all for coming out , and your continuous support😒 pic.twitter.com/Pyz4V2k89q
— Penn State PRCC (@PSUPRCC) October 7, 2017
“The PRCC closing for the rest of the week is a wake-up call to black community,” said Nathaniel Ouzts, a senior information science, and technology major. “The PRCC is our safe space, to talk, hangout or discuss our problems we face. Once the news that the PRCC was closing for the rest of the week, it got the black community talking about problems and solutions which are beneficial.”
Although much of the conversation both on social media and in-person has revolved primarily around Black students at Penn State, Francesgladys Pulido, a broadcast and comparative literature major and a Latina student, hopes that the Latinx community will join the conversation.
“The PRCC closing just for a week is a decision that affects all students even in ways that they may not realize,” Pulido said. “This closure hopefully will serve as a wake-up call to many students and help them realize what is in jeopardy.”
While many are in agreement that the center’s closure could reap a short-term benefit, many argue it is not the solution.
“Closing for a week won’t mend it,” Allo said. “I feel like it would’ve been more effective to close all of today and maybe tomorrow and then have a discussion about all this Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Ouzts echoed similar sentiments.”I honestly don’t think the closure will help mend the issues between students and the PRCC,” he said. “I think the Open Forum on the [October] 16th will help mend the issues.”
Regardless of whether the center remains closed for the rest of the week, some students just want the PRCC to return to its roots.
“Moving forward, I just want to see the PRCC being lively and loved again,” Ouzts said.