The Center for Cultural Enrichment, located in Witte Residence Hall, is open to all University Housing residents and staff. Originally opened in 1974 in Sellery Residence Hall and later housed in the former Gordon Commons before moving to Witte, the CCE has always welcomed residents and staff to the space as a place where you can hang out, relax, make a meal, attend an event and build community. Our priority is to establish inclusive, respectful and caring communities where everyone feels respected, valued, welcomed and supported.
Recently, several students asked about some items located in our display cases and their origins. In consultation with our campus partners in the Multicultural Student Center and Indigenous Student Center, we decided to remove these items that have been on display since at least the early 2000s because we found they were not authentic and could be considered offensive. We want to acknowledge that there was significant impact on individuals within the Indigenous community and this has caused harm. Although the current staff were not a part of acquisition of the pieces, we understand that it is important to listen and recognize when mistakes are made; we are always learning and unlearning.
We are currently working with the Indigenous Student Center and the Multicultural Center to create a smudging kit for students to check out from the CCE in the future. In addition, we hope to repurpose the display cases to feature art created by residents and staff to showcase the diverse experiences and identities of our residential communities, in keeping with the mission of the CCE.