MCC to move into new house

Janette Neuwahl

The Multicultural Center will be able to expand programming this fall — and possibly serve as a home to the proposed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource center — after moving into its own house on Sheridan Road, Northwestern officials said Wednesday.

William Banis, vice president for student affairs, said the larger space at 1940 Sheridan Road will become available when the Department of Religion moves to Crowe Hall, the Kresge Centennial Hall addition slated to open in early summer. The MCC, currently located at 1936 Sheridan Road, oversees 38 student groups and two minority student affairs offices.

“We’re really pleased with the support the Multicultural Center is getting,” Banis said. “The current location has just been over-utilized.”

Banis said the center’s new location could make it a possible site for the proposed LGBT resource center, which would serve as a counseling haven for students. Student group leaders have discussed housing the center in a Norris University Center office, but Rainbow Alliance Sen. John Hughes said he would prefer a larger, private space for students who might want help dealing with LGBT issues.

“Putting the LGBT resource center into the MCC is something Rainbow Alliance would have to talk about, but we are almost definitely in favor of that,” said Hughes, a Weinberg sophomore and former Daily forum editor. “I’m relatively confident that it would be more private, which was a concern for Rainbow Alliance.”

Mary Desler, associate vice president for student affairs, said she expects the move to take place this summer so the center can be in full operation by Fall Quarter.

MCC Graduate Assistant Tedd Vanadilok said the addition of an LGBT resource center could help expand the MCC’s ability to help students. Right now, Rainbow Alliance and the LGBT Support Network are the only outlets for students seeking information.

“The support network is very informal and has no central headquarters like the MCC,” he said. “I know we have no funds to have a full-time staff, but hopefully it can expand (to better serve students).”

In addition to possibly providing space for the LGBT resource center, the larger building will benefit cultural and religious groups that meet regularly at the MCC.

Edith Rivera, a former Alianza president, said the center’s large meeting space if often overbooked and she has had to change her group’s meetings or schedule events at other locations. She organized a letter-writing campaign among various groups to university administrators after the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee’s recommended that the center be expanded. The committee makes suggestions to the University Budget Committee on which projects students want the university to fund.

“The Multicultural Center acts as a home for so many groups that it is important to use the central location to their utmost ability,” said Rivera, a Communication junior. “It’s just important to have more meeting space because group offices are located there and it is easier to use that as our meeting space instead of Norris.”

Neither Banis nor Andrew McGonigle, NU’s manager of construction projects for facilities management, could say which department will move into the MCC’s current space.

The Daily’s Dalia Naamani-Goldman contributed to this report.