Save USC’s El Centro Chicano

The University of Southern California is a private university and the students pay tuition to attend this prestigious school. That should mean that Nikias and his administration work for the students. So why do the student voices remain unheard? USC is planning to relocate El Centro Chicano from its home of 33 years in the United University Church in the summer of 2013. The new location at the 4th floor of the Student Union will be less than half of El Centro’s current size. Students, alumni, parents, professors, and supporters have reached out to the administration to speak out against this impending move and to ask for the chance to have their voices heard by the decision makers, a request which thus far, remains ignored.

What the administration seems to be forgetting is that El Centro is part of the legacy of every latino person at USC past, present and future. It’s what draws potential students, nervous about their first time away from their familia, from what they know, to enroll at USC. It’s the home away from home for first generation college students sitting in a classroom of 200 people and realizing that there aren’t many people like them in that room. For me it was an anchor. It was always knowing I had a place at USC where I’d feel welcome. It was also a place that allowed my family to be involved in my collegiate journey and that is something no other center could ever do. The loss of El Centro, because do not be mistaken, this move will be a loss, is something the University and the latino community here can not afford.

I’ve graduated already but the University needs to know that this doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the issue. I am an alumna. I stand in solidarity with the students. I too, am El Centro.

CulturaMonica Rivera