The Organization of Historically Oppressed Students will be displaced following the Cultural Resource Center’s planned demolishment in the summer of 2024. A new building for the College of Health and Human Services is in the works.
President Jane Close Conoley said the CRC building was constructed during the 1960s and was meant to stay up for only a decade. Instead, the building has stood for 50 years.
Conoley said Long Beach State could not build a new cultural resource center because it would cost approximately $150 million. The university president and her administration suggested moving the student and multicultural organizations from the Faculty Office three building to the library basement.
Conoley spoke with O.H.O.S. in September 2022 after the student organizations expressed their disdain for moving to the library basement. O.H.O.S. told Conoley they wanted a new multicultural building and a different temporary location on campus.
Conoley said plans were underway to move the student multicultural organizations to a different location by the summer of 2024. She offered O.H.O.S. a tour of the research foundation where there is available space, but said the student organizations has not responded to her offer.
She also provided a rendering of the library basement if O.H.O.S. reconsiders the original location.
“I actually think that the library is the best solution. I understand a student’s concerns about being in the basement,” Conoley said. “When it’s remodeled, it will be beautiful. It won’t feel like it’s a basement at all.”
Conoley said the library basement has outdoor space available for their needs and suggested adding prominent signage as students walk into the library.
“We need a decision from them because I stopped work on the library when they were so adamant against it,” Conoley said. “It will cost us a lot of money to do this renovation. And if it wasn’t going to work out, I didn’t want to spend lots of money on that.”
During their meeting with the university president in September, O.H.O.S. student leaders said the library basement is inadequate because the building is not disability-accessible. Students were also concerned about security.
Yoanna Chaya Kollin, a third year Studio Art major with Beach Hillel and the LGBTQ+ Center, said the library would be more inaccessible for students.
“The library is the farthest place on campus and where [O.H.O.S.] is located right now is more central,” Kollin said. “We’re gonna get hate no matter where we go. I don’t think we should live in fear. I think we should live with pride.”
The student organizations proposed a six-story multicultural center in the center of campus during September’s meeting. They requested the multicultural center be staffed with academic advisors, mental health counselors and directors elected by students and community-involved faculty.
“We can’t build another building,” Conoley said. “These buildings cost upwards of $150 to $160 million to build them.”
Conoley also said that constructing another building may raise student tuition fees, but said she hoped to find a location for O.H.O.S. that would satisfy them.
“I hope they’ll understand how this California State University system works. We are dependent on saving money or getting philanthropy and access to state revenue bonds,” Conoley said. “Most students don’t think about that.”
The student organizations that are a part of O.H.O.S., including the Black Student Union and La F.U.E.R.Z.A., did not respond to comment.