The budgets of diversity-related programs have been cut by the University of Arizona due to COVID-19 impacts.
The pandemic has affected every facet of the university, whether it’s job losses or furloughs. The impact includes the cultural and resource centers and the Ombuds office, programs built on providing support, awareness and community to students of all backgrounds.
The survivor advocacy program, a student centered program that supports victims of sexual assault, has also been affected.
The Coalition of Black Students and Allies released an initial statement regarding the impacted programs on Jan. 26 via Twitter. In this statement, COBA reports a 15% budget cut to the cultural and resource centers.
According to COBA, the survivor advocacy program supported over 300 students, the majority of them being people of color.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion provided a statement via email serving to explain the changes.
“As for many of our teams, administrative support for the Cultural Centers will shift to a shared-services model delivered by the Provost’s Office business team. The Cultural Centers will have three dedicated administrative support members, who will ensure the Centers receive the same level of administrative support,” according to the statement.
At-large Senator Nora Day for the Associated Students of the UA, the university's undergraduate student governing body, has met with directors for some of the cultural and resource centers.
“With COVID[-19], a lot of funding is up in the air right now and some have faced different budget cuts that have caused them to restructure and potentially let go of some employees,” Day said.
Day did not know whether or not these programs have been disproportionately affected in comparison to other UA programs.
In the same statement, the office of diversity and inclusion touched on the changes specifically pertaining to the survivor advocacy program.
“After the reorganization, the Survivor Advocacy team will consist of a director and an advocate," the email said. "We are working with the Title IX team and the Consortium for Gender Based Violence to reframe the work of the Survivor Advocacy program.”
Day commented on how ASUA will move forward.
“What the ASUA Senate is trying to do, just because we’re super passionate about the diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that are brought about by all of these cultural and resource centers, is to push for institutional funding potentially but mainly just making a connection with the higher up at the U of A,” Day said.
Day maintained that as of now employees have not lost their jobs, but after this academic year, some employees will have.
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