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Dignity Village at PSU?

In the Monday Oct. 2 forum, the administration made a clear statement: they do not support hosting Dignity Village.

Brian Chase, director of facilities, spoke on behalf of President Daniel Bernstein and the Chancellor’s Office at Monday’s forum. Chase said, “We don’t think it is an appropriate use as a university.”

Chase also said, “We are not disagreeing about the need.” The administration has made clear that hosting Dignity Village is not aligned with the goal of the university, Chase said.

The round of forums addressing the issue of homelessness began Friday evening Sept. 28. The discussion continued in another forum on Monday Oct. 1. The final forum will be held at noon on Tuesday Oct. 2 in the Smith Center browsing Lounge.

A “Proposal to Host Dignity Village” was written by Laura Campos. Dimitris Desyllas, a student senator, brought the proposal to the student senate. The proposal outlines the future site of Dignity Village as the Long House, the Native American building. Dignity Village would use the space from Nov. 1- March 15.

Desyllas, a graduate student and member of the ASPSU senate, said he first became interested in Dignity Village as a reporter. He said as he started to visit and talk with the people, he began to recognize his own stereotypes about homeless people. Once he became involved and started to understand the magnitude of the issue of homelessness, he brought the prospect of hosting Dignity Village to the student senate table.

In theory, the members of the student senate support the idea of hosting Dignity Village. However, the senate did not take action to push the administration. During the forums, student senators expressed concern about the issue of homelessness. The student senate supports the discussion of Dignity Village and homelessness. They also support a continued discussion about the feasibility of this project.

The ASPSU executive committee has not taken a position on the. In reference to finding a permanent location for Dignity Village, ASPSU president Mary Cunningham said, “We need to continue to have brainstorm sessions like these forums to recognize how to plan and take grassroots action.”

However, the forums are intended to bring the current issue of homelessness to the campus consciousness. Vice President Emily Garrick said, “The most helpful thing that students can do is work with the community to help find a permanent location for Dignity Village.”