The Mannie Holmes Multi-Cultural Center has been closed by the college until further notice, Krystal Madlock, director of student diversity programs, said.
Closed during last year’s May Term, students said the news was taken hard and many couldn’t understand the point of closing it.
“They should let us determine our fate rather than letting the past hinder our future,” Dajuan King, vice president of The Black Student Union (BSU), said.
Mannie Holmes, for who the building is named, chaired People’s Community Health Clinic, working one-on-on with families, youth and peers in the Cedar Valley.
Holmes was an assistant professor at Wartburg College.
In recent years, the Mannie Holmes House has been inactive due to lack of up keeping and frequent fights during house parties.
“There were windows being [broken], and the floor in the living room started to cave in which is very unsafe and unfortunately not a good idea for students to hang out there until it’s fixed,” Madlock said.
“The house is there to bring people together,” King said.
“We would love to host barbeques for the Wartburg community to show our appreciation and have study sessions in a comfortable environment.”
BSU hosted a reunion meeting during Homecoming week involving alumni and new members. During the meeting alumni discussed what they could do to help make changes possible for the organization.
“We had to argue that the black experience at Wartburg is different the any other experience. And there was a need to let that express itself,” Felicia Smith-Nalls, an alumna, said.
“We used that house to brainstorm and coming with creative ways to recognize that and allow it to support the organization,” she said.
Ashlee McGrown, president of BSU, led the meeting and said alumni can play a huge role in the push towards reopening the Mannie Holmes House.
BSU members from last year said the house is a place they can come together as a family and cook for each other when they can’t go home for break.
“All I want to see is change happen within our campus. More recognition and support is what we are going for,” McGrown said.
“I believe we can help change a lot around the campus with more support from others and reopening a house that we can call ours and have something to feel good about.”