Act Out, DePaul’s LGBTQ activist group, has become concerned that the university is moving to dismantle the Center for Identity, Inclusion, and Social Change (CIIS) following the newly approved Center for African-American Students.
The center, located in the Lincoln Park Student Center, develops programs and services that empower students to learn about how intersecting identities shape their worldview and confront systems of oppression. Act Out says the action of dismantling the center is “punishment for being a politically active space for students and employees who refuse to be complacent with problematic aspects of DePaul,” and that the loss of the center would be highly detrimental to intercultural education and to DePaul’s intersectional spaces as a whole.
Students have taken to Twitter to advocate for the center using the hashtag #SaveTheCenter to voice concerns, encourage worried students to voice their concerns about the closing of the center, and share stories about the positive work the center has done, like having a role in planning the largest LGBTQ college conference in the world.
The CIIS is responsible for overseeing Social Justice Education and LGBTQ Student Services, which provides mentoring programs and counseling for LGBTQ students. The alleged dismantlement of the center would leave no university-administered spaces for LGBTQ students.
The university administration has not explicitly said that they are moving towards this course of action, saying instead they are going to “rethink its design and activity to accommodate these new structures,” but Act Out is saying that private administrative budget discussions have shifted to the possibility of dismantling the center.
DePaul has a number of intersectional offices, such as the Office of Multicultural Student Success, that Act Out says would not be affected, raising the question of why the university would choose to solely remove the CIIS, especially as a punishment towards students. Act Out does not specify whether or not they believe that the university will delegate the centers’ roles to another office, or just completely eliminate it altogether.
After the approval of the Center for African-American Students, DePaul began exploring options to create centers that would serve DePaul’s Latinx, Asian and LGBTQ communities in a similar manner. Act Out believes the funding for these centers is going to come from the dismantlement of the CIIS.
The university did not respond to a request to comment.