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In 2016, Illinois State University participated in a comprehensive campus climate assessment where the data revealed marginalization, isolation, and exclusion of students of color. The assessment resulted in five recommendations for improvement for the campus community, one of which was to “Create and Invest in Affirming Spaces for Students of Color.” In response, in 2018, the Campus Climate Implementation Team charged the Multicultural Center Taskforce to determine the elements necessary to create a Multicultural Center at Illinois State University. The taskforce consisted of faculty, staff, and students to ensure that many voices were represented throughout the process. The taskforce benchmarked peer institutions, held site visits, and collected and analyzed data through focus groups held across campus.

In spring 2019, the taskforce made recommendations to the President’s Office in regard to the spaces, services, and staffing for an Illinois State University Multicultural Center. Given the strong desire for the center to be fully functional as soon as possible, an existing building, the former Instructional Technology and Development Center, was identified to become the Multicultural Center. In spring 2020, the Board of Trustees approved the capital project to plan, design, and renovate the space for the creation of a Multicultural Center.

While the campus community awaited the completion of the center, staff began working July 1, 2020, positioning the campus community to champion antiracism, equity, and justice. The staff followed the 2016 climate assessment recommendation that instructed those leading the charge to be in consultation with marginalized/minoritized students in all aspects of development and functionality of the center in order to build clear lines of accountability to oppressed communities. The Multicultural Center staff utilized the Diversity Advocacy Organizations, The Black Student Union, Pride, Asian Pacific American Coalition, and The Association of Latin American Students as accountability partners. From hiring, to design, furniture, equipment, finishes, policies, and the naming of the Center, these dynamic student leaders had the ability to form and shape every aspect of the Center.

The Center’s staff Construction of the facility was completed in summer 2021, with the new Multicultural Center opening to the campus community in fall 2021.