The Christian Assoc. will displace La Casa Latina over the summer. Officials are cautiously optimistic. Upon hearing the news Wednesday that the highly praised and 1 1/2-month-old La Casa Latina would be forced to relocate at the end of this academic year, members of the Latino community say they are keeping a close eye on University President Judith Rodin to make sure she provides them with a viable alternative. The news came last week that the University purchased the long sought after Christian Association building on Locust Walk, moving the CA to the Westminster House at 3700 Chestnut Street, where La Casa Latina is currently housed. In displacing La Casa Latina, Rodin promised the facility would receive "equally good, if not better" space on campus. She said, also, that the leaders of the new Latino center knew from the start they would likely have to move at the end of the year, and that she believed the move would be less harmful to the center now rather than later. The center's leaders expressed hope that the move would result quickly in a permanent home for La Casa Latina. "On the one hand, I find it very troubling [because] it is important to have a permanent location that we can consider our home on Penn's campus," said College senior Jonathan Canto, president of El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, the University's Mexican-American and Chicano group. On the other hand, "it really provides Penn an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the Latino community." According to Canto, the University could express its concern for Latinos on campus by providing them with a larger facility. "What is going to shape people's opinions about it is what Penn does next," he added. La Casa Latina Director Lilvia Soto said she received a letter from Rodin when the center opened which stated that the facility would remain at its current location for two years, not one. But Soto added that she is not troubled by the move and understands that Rodin couldn't have foreseen the purchase of the CA building, which the University has been pursuing for at least 20 years. "I am not upset at all because we knew it was going to happen," Soto said. "Actually, I prefer it this way, sooner rather than later, before we get settled in. Thanks to the early move, Soto said La Casa Latina will be able to avoid spending money on items such as bookshelves and a sign for the outside of the building that may not be transportable to a new location. "I welcome this," Soto said. "If we had stayed longer we would have made investments on things we wouldn't be able to take with us." In addition, Soto says, "It is a good opportunity to get a larger place, as we don't currently have enough room." With regard to the students' concerns about the move, Soto said she will try to assuage their fears. "The essence of La Casa is not Westminster House, not the space," Soto said. "We carry our culture in our bones and we'll have that wherever we go.? We should be optimistic and think of this as a very positive development."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.