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Sunday, April 11, 2021
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-18a12073-1251-196d-a6a8-dc75f6625a23"><span>Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe responds to questions at an intervention town hall at Gainesville City Hall. The event covered concerns about the renovations of the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures.</span></span></p>

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe responds to questions at an intervention town hall at Gainesville City Hall. The event covered concerns about the renovations of the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures.

At a rescheduled town hall featuring a scheduled Q&A with UF administrators, no administrators attended.

UF President Kent Fuchs was also scheduled on the agenda to give remarks, but when the meeting began, Fuchs was nowhere to be seen.

The Gainesville City Commission hosted the event at Gainesville City Hall on Wednesday night to mediate a conversation between No La IBCita, a movement dedicated to keeping the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures separate, and the university. The full City Commission sat to ask questions and listen. Commissioner Charles Goston, a former UF student who protested to get the IBC back in the 1970s, chaired the meeting.

Goston said, seeing the flare-up of racially charged incidents on campus and the university’s response, he felt like there wasn’t any change from his day.  

“They didn’t want to listen then, and they seem to not want to listen now,” he said.

Goston said he would ensure UF administrators saw the recorded meeting and still encouraged the public to ask questions they may have had. UF spokesperson Janine Sikes wrote in an email that UF stated weeks ago that UF administrators would not be attending the meeting.

The initial meeting, which was scheduled for Aug. 1, was postponed.  

Ebony Love, a 21-year-old UF history senior, said the town hall was developed to create discussion between UF and students.

“I hope we start a conversation and start a conversation on transparency most of all,” she said. “And a conversation about accountability.”

Love, who was formerly a Multicultural and Diversity Affairs ambassador, said even though MCDA announced the buildings will be separate, there are still concerns about the project team planning it.

A new team has been formed with 14 members. William Atkins, the executive director of MCDA, previously said members of the committee were chosen based on their elected position in organizations or faculty experience, according to Alligator archives.

Love fears the new committee only has like-minded individuals on it and that there is only one team for the two buildings.

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“Decisions should not be made by people who have all the same mindset,” she said. “You have to have a diversity of thought.”

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe responds to questions at an intervention town hall at Gainesville City Hall. The event covered concerns about the renovations of the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures.

Chris Wilde, a 21-year-old UF microbiology and cell science senior, asks a question at the intervention town hall on Wednesday.

Vincent Adejumo, a 30-year-old lecturer at the African American studies department at UF speaks at the town hall. Adejumo asked if the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures could receive designation as national landmarks.

Wallace Mazon, a 22-year-old UF African American studies senior, poses a question to the city officials present at the town hall.

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