Center for Multicultural Affairs discuss Bryan Center renovations, new Space Advisory Committee at DSG meeting

Duke Student Government senators heard about the future of campus cultural spaces from the Center for Multicultural Affairs staff at their Wednesday meeting.

Director of the CMA Linda Capers and Assistant Directors Maij Mai and Alex Espaillat spoke to senators about their roles, the spaces they manage and their plans for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the CMA, which was founded in 1972.

The CMA hosts events, manages student affinity spaces and runs the Cultural Engagement Fund, which funds culture and identity-related events.

Senators were interested in physical spaces set aside for affinity groups in the Bryan Center, in light of student criticism of space allocations after recent moves in the building. 

Espaillat explained that the CMA directly oversees La Casa, the Latinx affinity space, A/API BASE, the Asian American and Pacific Islander affinity space, and Wekit, the Native American/Indigenous affinity space. 

CMA, alongside Student Involvement & Leadership, also supports other cultural affinity spaces, including Bryan Center room 036. The University has assigned the space to DukeLIFE, an organization for students who identify as first-generation and/or low-income, and to students identifying as Middle Eastern, North African or Caribbean. 

Potential renovations are slated for next summer, according to Espaillat.

As the University continues to plan renovations, the CMA and Student Involvement ​& Leadership have begun recruiting students for a Space Advisory Committee, consisting of one member from each of 10 ​cultural affinity groups that inhabit space on campus, according to Espaillat.

According to Espaillat, the 10 affinity spaces are the Asian​/American Pacific Islander Bridge to Action, Solidarity, and Education ​(BASE), Black Student Affinity Space, Caribbean, Disability Community Space, Duke Lower Income, First-Generation Engagement (DukeLIFE) Affinity Space, La Casa, Middle Eastern/ North African (MENA) Affinity Space, Multicultural Greek Council ​(MGC), National Pan-Hellenic Council ​(NPHC), and Wekit.

The committee will meet once a month to provide feedback on the renovation plans, Espaillat said.

“We’re really trying to encourage the community to recognize that this is the space where [their] direct word of mouth will go into what these renovations look like,” she told senators.

In other business

DSG senators allocated $2,581.75 for Inside Joke’s Nut-Free Newbies show on Oct. 27, $2,000 for Duke Biology Majors Union’s STEM Majors Picnic on Nov. 5, $5,250 for Muslim Students Association’s Annual Fall Banquet on Nov. 6 and $5,300 for NeuroCare’s speaker Steve Levinson, writer of Dear Evan Hansen.

The senators chartered Jummah 4 All, a student group focused on creating “a queer-affirming, anti-racist and gender inclusive Muslim prayer space,” according to the group’s charter filing. They also recognized Blue Angels Greek Dance.

Editor's Note: This article was updated Thursday afternoon to clarify that CMA supports cultural affinity spaces alongside Student Involvement & Leadership.

Senou Kounouho profile
Senou Kounouho | University News Editor

Senou Kounouho is a Pratt sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


Share and discuss “Center for Multicultural Affairs discuss Bryan Center renovations, new Space Advisory Committee at DSG meeting” on social media.