Work on the project to rebuild the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures began last summer, with student input at different points throughout the process. In the last week, I’ve heard concerns from students surrounding the design and lack of involvement. As a UF alumnus who found a home at the IBC, I recognize and respect the history, significance and fight for these spaces. I want to hear more from our students and alumni, ensuring that I am attending to the experiences of past, present and future Gators. So, we are pushing pause and going back to the drawing board. We will still rebuild the institutes. The current condition of the facilities has not changed. But we will reexamine plans, bring back architects and work to get more ideas, opinions and voices. I greatly appreciate the feedback from students regarding increased communication. We will be implementing many of those ideas moving forward. I will be forming student advisory and alumni advisory committees for each of the institutes. These committees will play an integral role in the design and construction process moving forward. More information will be sent out regarding the committees early next week. I hope many students and alumni show interest in serving on the committees. Additionally, I want students to know that UF Student Affairs has been advocating for increased resources for this project. This past week, the UF Capital Improvement Trust Fund committee met, and their recommendation for more support is moving to the next step for approval. I share your passion for these spaces, and I look forward to more conversations.
Will Atkins is the executive director of UF’s Multicultural and Diversity Affairs.