Student Groups Condemn Penn State’s Plan to Remove Fidel Castro Quote

HAVANA, CUBA: Cuban President Fidel Castro (R) and Cambodia's Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen (L) salute a passing honor guard during a welcome ceremony at the State Council in Havana 09 September 1999. Hun Sen is on a four-day official visit to Cuba following Castro's invitation. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO …
ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty

Student groups are pushing back against the removal of a quote by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro from a wall on Penn State’s campus, citing racial “concerns.” According to the students, the decision “reveals the hypocrisy of University administration and lack of support for students of color at Penn State.” The Campaign to remove the quote was organized by a Venezuelan student.

Three multicultural student groups at Penn State published a joint statement condemning Penn Sate’s promise to remove a Castro quote displayed in the school’s Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC) in response to a campaign led by students and a victim of socialism and communism in Cuba.

The Penn State Black Caucus published the joint letter, which claims that “while we understand the unrest in Cuba right now, the conduct of the situation reveals the hypocrisy of University administration and lack of support for students of color at Penn State.”

“Our concerns lie with the minimal thought and time spent to make this decision by university administration,” the statement continues. “All three multicultural caucuses, as well as PRCC senior staff, were left out of the conversation in regards to a change being made in the PRCC; the center that our communities recognize as a safe space.”

Moreover, the statement goes on to claim that “majority white organizations had no trouble implementing change,” despite the campaign to remove the Castro quote being led by Venezuelan student Erik Suarez.

“Three majority white organizations had no trouble implementing change in a space created for communities of color within a matter of days,” the student groups complain in their statement.

“The rapid decision of the University sets a precedent of priority for non-POC organizations and their concerns,” they insist, adding that the manner in which the university moved forward with the change “demonstrates the lack of voice that communities of color have at Penn State.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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