Student Fee-Funded PRCC Closing This Week After Alleged Lack Of Student Support

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The Paul Robeson Cultural Center will be closed for the remainder of the week (officially starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday) according to a series of statements posted on the center’s social media accounts Monday night.

“The PRCC staff met [Monday] morning for our bi-weekly staff meeting,” the letter begins. “One topic of discussion was the lack of support that we receive from students that we serve day in and day out.”

Student fee dollars, as approved last year by the Student Fee Board in its first year of existence, fund the PRCC. This year, the PRCC received an allocation of $2.15 per student, or about 0.8 percent of the total $258 student fee. It’s unclear at this time whether a university service funded by the student fee is “allowed” to shut down, or what entity would even potentially regulate something like this.

The statement comes soon after last weekend’s Hip Hop Summit, which was put on by the PRCC and slated to feature workshops with Muhibb Dyer, Rebel Diaz, and Travis Salters in addition to keynote Jeff Johnson.

“This statement is not only about this past weekend’s events but the decline of support for the PRCC and PRCC programs has increased over time,” the letter reads, presumably referring to the Hip Hop Summit.

The PRCC included in its 2017-2018 allocation request a $78,000 budget for Hip Hop Summit (above), which featured honoraria for Jasiri X, Rebel Diaz, Brother Ali, and Chance the Rapper. Yes, you read that right. The event ultimately featured only Rebel Diaz from those wishful options.

A sarcastic Saturday night tweet from the PRCC about the event’s lack of attendance was passive-aggressive at best, and decidedly unprofessional coming from a division of the university.

The Center even retweeted others who called the above tweet petty, including comments like “Bruh…what y’all doing up there?!?” and “Ayo who runs this page [laughing emojis]mad petty”.

Student Body President Katie Jordan, who’s the current chair of the student fee board, and Latino Caucus President Jorge Zurita-Coronado, declined to comment on the situation Monday night as they did not yet have all the facts. By all accounts, it seems the situation is unprecedented.

The PRCC also announced an open forum to be held at 6 p.m. Monday, October 16 in the PRCC. “We hope you will come to have a conversation with us so that we are able to begin to build a stronger relationship with students and the PRCC.”

We’ll provide updates as more information becomes available.

You can read the full text of the PRCC’s Monday night statements below:

Greeting All

The PRCC staff met this morning for our bi-weekly staff meeting. One topic of discussion was the lack of support that we receive from students that we serve day in and day out. The students that we come to wor early for, stay late, and work on weekends to provide space for, the students that we spend hours, days, weeks, and months planning events for, the students we advocate for to senior administration, the students that we give a shoulder so they can cry, the students that we spend personal funds to provide a meal when they can’t afford it, and the students that we love, care for, and will always be here for long after they graduate. This statement is not only about this past weekend’s events but the decline of support for the PRCC and PRCC programs has increased over time. We have changed programs. We have added events. We have stopped doing events that were not reaching students in meaningful ways. We have created new events. We have even changed the space, moving furniture and entire rooms, in the PRCC to accommodate students’ desires and requests. Not every university has a space dedicated to the students of color for their holistic care and health but here at Penn State, we do. But what if we didn’t? We won’t keep you wondering what if. For the remainder of the week, the PRCC will be closed to all students. We will begin our time without the PRCC starting tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM.

Monday, October 16, 2017

We will host an open forum on in the PRCC at 6:00 PM. We hope you will come to have a conversation with us so that we are able to begin to build a stronger relationship with students and the PRCC. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to building with you.

We hope that this time is used to reflect and ask yourself what the PRCC is to you and what it means to you. What has the PRCC meant to those that came before you? What can and should the PRCC mean to those that come after you?

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Elissa Hill

Elissa is a junior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail (elissa@onwardstate.com) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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