Statement about the Institutes from MCDA Staff

Dear UF Community,

Today, the Core Committee for the Institutes project met to discuss pros and cons of the different design options. The Core Committee is comprised of Will Atkins, executive director of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs; Gabe Lara, director of Hispanic-Latino Affairs; Mary Kay Carodine, assistant vice president for Student Affairs; and Robert Hatker, with UF Planning, Design, and Construction.

Over the course of the last few months, we’ve listened to many students, alumni and stakeholders. A few have been vocal with their ideas and opinions, and many have shared their views directly with our Advisory Committee members and the MCDA staff. We greatly appreciate everyone for giving input and those who participated in the process, allowing space for many voices.

We wish to give a special thank you to our Advisory Committee members, who put in countless hours in and out of meetings listening to facts, history of the Institutes, and their constituents. Your service was greatly appreciated.

Our goal has always been to make decisions based on needs of future students, preservation of cultural history, and being efficient and effective with the use of resources and space in order to meet the organizational objectives of Black Affairs and Hispanic-Latino Affairs.

As reflective of the multiple designs presented and weighing all feedback fairly, the Core Committee recommended that Multicultural and Diversity Affairs move ahead on developing plans for two completely separate structures, the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures, with no shared assembly space, and still keep them within the available budget.

The purpose of this rebuilding project has always been to give more space to each community so that Black Affairs and Hispanic-Latino Affairs can continue to enhance and support the Black and LatinX communities at UF. Though we recognize the choice to eliminate the shared assembly space option decreases the programmatic opportunities, we are stronger together and thus, we are prioritizing what is best for our communities at this time.

We thank those who served on the Core and Advisory committees. As we re-start key aspects of this project, we will be moving forward with a new Project Team. We look forward to sharing more about this and other opportunities to get involved in the upcoming days.


Multicultural and Diversity Affairs Staff