Current students might know Tony Marx for recently appearing on Humans of New York to advocate for the modern relevance of the public library. But the former Amherst president should be noted for his agenda that has changed the campus makeup and culture. Pushing for a level of diversity unheard of by our peer institutions, he created some of the generous financial aid packages that allow the Admissions Office to operate need-blind. There should be no doubt that the Admissions’ Office commitment to creating a diverse student body has done wonders for this college. While the administration’s full commitment to creating a diverse student body is clear, the same cannot be said for its maintenance of the resources devoted to a truly diverse community.
The Multicultural Resource Center, Queer Resource Center and Women’s and Gender Center are crucial to this campus. Their weekly coffee hours, “queer talks” programs and café con leche events go a long way to creating a better, more cohesive and more understanding community. Their heads and student staff are unparalleled in their devotion to each student. Further, the events they put on and speakers they bring in are varied, touching on a multitude of issues students want and need to hear about.
Yet, despite their spectacular track record, each center constantly has to find new funding for their events. It’s all too frequent that students representing centers come to the Association of Amherst Students, Campus Activities Board and the President’s Office among others seeking extra funding for events that deserve to be put on. Each year, the Queer Resource Center puts on their allies week and give out the “I Support Love” T-shirts that have become a mainstay of your gym visit. Despite the fact that this project is one that captures and fundamentally defines the conversation on campus, these shirts are not provided for in the Queer Resource Center budget but are, instead, funded through a myriad of different co-sponsorships. Yes, it makes sense that the centers can’t fully fund every single expensive speaker they want to bring it. What doesn’t make sense is that their budgets don’t include enough money for tried and true events that are crucial on this campus.
Perhaps it is asking too much for the college budget to support every event each center puts on fully, but the administration should certainly be funding these crucial events. These centers are a lifeline to many students. That’s for good reason. The Multicultural Resource Center, Queer Resource Center and Women’s and Gender Center do amazing work. Their staff should have the financial freedom to focus more on planning informative and fun events rather than securing funding.