Resident Council Voices Support for Sister Institution

University of Chicago officials announced on March 8 that International House Chicago is on the verge of closing due to insufficient funds for building renovations. Residents and alumni immediately launched a “Save International House” campaign initiating a petition drive, contacting alumni and media, organizing protest marches, and circulating fliers.

However, the University of Chicago made it clear that it was going to close I-House on June 30th because of fire code issues. We have recently learned that no decision has been made about what will happen to the I-House building and its programs.

The Resident Council of I-House Berkeley voiced its concern over the possible closure in the following editorial, testimony to the importance of the I-House mission, which was published in The Chicago Maroon on March 28, 2000.

To the Editor:

As the Resident Council of International House, Berkeley, it was with great alarm that we learned of the threat to our sister institution in Chicago. We are not fully aware of the particular circumstances faced by I-House Chicago, but we feel that International Houses across the United States and the world offer a unique and increasingly important experience that should be expanded, not curtailed.

Such institutions enlighten not only their residents, but also the community to which they belong. The value of the international friendships and illuminated understandings forged at International Houses cannot be measured in dollars— they are priceless. Especially given the ever-expanding proactive role the United States plays in international affairs, the interaction between world citizens which takes place at I-House Chicago should be fostered all the more attentively.

The alumni of International Houses go on to create the international landscape of tomorrow. Putting money and business before the propagation of mutual, inter-cultural understanding is tragic. International students return to their home countries all the time, only to find themselves in a position to act upon the education they gained over dinner and coffee back at the I-House.

American residents of the I-House gain the kind of worldly perspective which is sadly so elusive in mainstream American culture. But this can only happen if there is an I-House to go home from. Do not let it end here and now.

We urge that all possible measures be taken to save the International House at Chicago, and we express our concern that neither politics nor money come before its important mission. Show the international residents that the mission of promoting a more tolerant and peaceful world is valued in America.

— The Resident Council of I-House, Berkeley David Chott, Jame Ervin, Ingvar Aberg, Jasmine Stodel, Jonathan Tan, Ashlyn J. Hong, Esther C. Perkins, Eamon Daly, Aida Molina-Grant