Students say annual budget of over $250k is not enough for UCLA’s new Black resource center

UCLA’s Afrikan Student Union Chairperson said that black students deserve more than the $250,000 annual budget for the Black Bruin Resource Center.

She told the student newspaper that there should be more reparations for Black students at UCLA.

Just months after the opening of UCLA’s new Black student center, students are asking for an increase to the center’s yearly budget of over $250,000.

The Black Bruin Resource Center (BBRC) was created to serve as a “safe space” for black UCLA students, and was one of the promises made by the Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor in an effort to address structural racism and inclusivity. These promises were presented in a letter to the campus community in the summer of 2020. Interim director Amanda Finzi-Smith described the center as “a place to be fully black without consequence.” 

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Finzi-Smith shared with UCLA that her vision for the center “is to provide students a place on campus to connect, learn about and embrace their own identities as well as those of others and feel at home with the rest of campus.” The center has approximately 1,500 square feet of space for programming, meetings, and computers. The BBRC’s web page outlines its official purpose: “the center governs student and community programs geared to uplift, support, and inspire the Black Bruin experience.”

According to UCLA spokesperson Katherine Alvarado, the group was given a $50,000 budget for first year programming and over $250,000 total for the year, The Daily Bruin reported. Many find this funding to be adequate, however, for the Afrikan Student Union (ASU) it is simply not enough for the center to carry out its mission and projects. 

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Despite having a successful year of virtual programming including a six week discussion series on sexual assault as reported by UCLA and an in-person opening week called “All Black Everything Week” in September, leaders of the ASU demanded more funding. 

ASU Chairperson, Samone Anderson, asserting that a $50,000 programming budget is not enough, called for reparations. She added that “quite frankly (black students) deserve more funding, we deserve an endowment,” according to The Daily Bruin.

Some argue the current budget is not enough for the center to carry out its mission and provide for Black students. Anderson described to The Daily Bruin how she would have benefited from the BBRC three years ago because she felt overwhelmed by the lack of Black representation on campus. Other student leaders echo Anderson’s statements, and they hope for the center to become not only a safe space but a productive space. 

Campus Reform reached out to UCLA and the ASU; this article will be updated accordingly. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @bridgetkoneal