‘One house’ plan threatens culture houses

It’s not easy to find a home on such an immense campus, that place where you feel most comfortable and welcome. Many students walk past the Alma Mater everyday and ask themselves, “Where do I go from here?” The answer for so many of those individuals has been their respective cultural house.

The cultural houses have been considered a safe haven for people of color, a judgment-free zone with friends and family who lend a helping hand. Sadly, the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations has announced that a plan to consolidate the Nevada street cultural houses would go into action. This of course sparked dialogue throughout the campus, and each house held their own discussions about when and why this is happening.

Of course, the University is in a financial crisis and the state owes us $485 million. Since then, nearly $150 million has been collected. The recession in the U. S. has caused the campus money problems. We’re pinching pennies. The University feels exactly how students feel everyday. While we’re choosing sale items in County Market or holding off on Panera Bread for lunch, the University is making faculty pay cuts in different colleges — so we’re all doing our part.

It’s a shame, though, to go to such lengths to save money. Maintenance on separate cultural houses, funding daily programs and major events is becoming too much of a hassle, apparently. But the houses should be untouchable. For so many years, minority students have fought for rights on this campus, and reached milestones when the houses were built. To throw any sign of cultural difference into one place would be slapping all those who have gone before us in the face.

Having attending the workshops in a couple cultural houses, I understand how important they are to the students. Getting back to my original point about finding a home on campus: I spoke to African-American students who practically live at the “Black House.” I visit a couple times a week for a pizza lunch, a meeting for my RSO or just to hang out. I’d see the same faces there all the time. I asked why they wanted to spend so much time in the fairly warm and stuffy building. They replied by saying they felt welcomed there, unlike any other place they’ve visited on campus. More profoundly, they “found themselves” in that building. They said they learned about how important it is to strive for greatness as a black individual on this majority white campus.

As I stroll up and down Nevada, I see such a variety of cultures, many of which I had only read about in books. For anyone who’s curious to learn about different ethnic groups, the cultural houses provide an exclusive experience through which to grow personally.

This plan could promote separation on this campus, as expressed by leaders at La Casa. One student there brought up the idea that this could work on a smaller campus, but would fail with such a huge population. Essentially, this plan would place all shreds of culture in one building. Imagine the RSO cube in the Union blown up to 10 times its size. It would be ridiculous.

Many students feel that it would be fine to get rid of the houses, effectively respecting diversity as they say. Allowing everyone to interact with each other sounds like a wonderful idea. We are at a big school, so why not keep the doors open and share your cultural stew with everyone? Here’s why: the reason why minorities on this campus had to fight for representation in the first place is because they weren’t treated fairly and didn’t get the resources they needed to be successful students. To function under this “melting pot” mentality would further under-represent minority groups. If we didn’t need separate houses, why were they built in the first place? Greek organizations have houses, and why do they? Are they really necessary? Take them all and put them in the same building and see if we’re all still talking “unity.”

Dave is a senior in Media.