CME celebrates 40 years

"The four decades of the CME have been replete with exciting and inspiring programs, speakers, workshops and other activities," said Michael Blackwell, director of the Center for Multicultural Education (CME). "As we enter the fifth decade of its existence, we realize the work of building cultural competency and inclusion on campus and in the surrounding community is not yet over."

UNI's CME will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Wednesday, Feb. 23.

CME's anniversary commemorates on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

The Center for Multicultural Education (CME) celebrates its 40th anniversary as the campus diversity hub on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

The CME was established during the Civil Rights Movement as the diversity hub for the UNI campus and the community. Its mission is to foster success in racial and ethnic minority students; contribute to the cultural competence of all students; and promote an appreciation of diversity in the university community.

In the 1960s, the students of the Afro-America Society at UNI focused on changing curriculum and places of refuge and solidarity for students, increasing minority faculty, and confronting institutionalized racism on predominately white campuses.

"It's exciting to be part of the CME as it celebrates its 40th anniversary," said Kolby Knupp, graduate assistant at the CME. "It's amazing to think that the acts of just a few students back in the late '60s resulted in what the CME is today. I hope the next 40 years continue to be successful at appreciating diversity across campus and increasing the cultural competence of the UNI community."

What began as the Ethnic Minorities and Cultural Education Center, the CME has undergone many changes over the years, including changing its name and location to better serve the UNI community in support of a renewed and growing commitment to diversity, one of President Allen's priorities.

"The significance of the move of the CME from the house on 23rd Street to Maucker Union," said Blackwell, "is that it symbolized the importance of diversity here at UNI and the effort to improve the campus climate for students of color and the cultural competency of all students."

The diversity hub when it was called the Ethnic Minorities and Cultural Education Center.

The Ethnic Minorities and Cultural Education Center began in what is now the Honors Cottage on 23rd Street. The CME is now proud to be housed in the upper level of the Maucker Union.

The past of the CME says a lot about what its future holds.

"The CME will continue to offer programs, activities and services of a culturally diverse nature primarily for the campus, but also for the wider community," said Blackwell. "We are increasingly working more closely with minority or multicultural student organizations to assist them in their program development and in addressing issues of concern to their student members."  

Three notable events include Dr. Cornell West's visit to UNI to speak about leadership and justice, Tim Wise speaking about racial discrimination, and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, the esteemed scholar, public intellectual, author and cultural critic who spoke about memory, tradition and black identity

"We celebrate racial and ethnic heritage months," said Blackwell, "and we have a speaker series that we will continue to offer.

"We will also continue to provide workshops that assist people in sharpening their cultural quotient and improving their intercultural communication. We are constantly improving the number of resources we have available to help the many callers for information about cultures. It is our hope that we will eventually outgrow our facility and broaden our focus."

Students in the early 70's in the Ethnic Minorities Cultural Center Students outside the CME perform at the CME Mid-Summer Bash
Students in the early 70's in the
Ethnic Minorities Cultural Education Center

Students perform at the CME Mid-
Summer Bash outside the CME