No new student center

Last year among myriad other edicts and appropriations, our indomitable student council voted to fund the preliminary stages of building a new student center.

Preliminary in the sense that no such student center will as yet be built. Rather, the idea is that $1 per student per semester will be taken from student fees and put into a fund which will be used at a future date to construct a new building where students can chill, hang, relax, chillax, etc. Things like, for instance, bowl, swim, climb fiberglass imitations of cliff faces and eat. Our administration has for some time been wildly in support of this idea, from the Dean of Students Bob Rasmussen (who was kind enough to explain all this to me), to our former presidents and (hopefully) our new president.

Our current Sorensen Student Center, much like the rest of the campus, is cramped and jammed with things ranging from the cafeteria and food court, right on over to your humble editor’s very own offices. There’s not a lot of space to do anything other than perhaps walk and hold meetings, much less any variant of chillhanglaxing.
But – but – let me remind you that this problem of space, as in not having any, applies not only to the student center, but to every square inch of our illustrious campus. Our cripplingly obvious increases in student body are likely to continue every semester hereafter and therefore every building is and will be overflowing with students such that finding places in which hold classes, the very reason we are all here in the first place, is becoming something of an issue.

So, let me ask you this – why in the world would we want a new student center, replete with rock walls and swimming pools, when we barely – and I mean barely – have space to, you know, get educated? Is this really the best use of our funds?

There are well-formed reasons for having a new student center, i.e. building a sense of community, fun, a place of our own away from the stuffy old faculty and administration, et al. But in my estimation, those reasons only hold under the assumption that our primary purpose in being here (education) is fully funded and under control, which it is currently not. We are in desperate need of a performing arts building, more science classrooms (which things, I should mention, are also in shadowy preliminary stages), more classrooms in general, not to mention more scholarship funds to attract those intelligent students who otherwise may make the journey north.

But there is a problem as explained to me by our incredible and friendly Dean, Mr. Rasmussen: the aforementioned $1 comes from our student fees, which funds are as a matter of tradition only appropriated toward student-run and student-oriented things, like student centers, student government – pretty much anything with “student” in front of it. Tuition, state, and federal dollars fund things like classes and scholarships. So using that dollar to build a classroom would run counter to the whole history of student unions, which, apparently, is bad.

Here’s what there is to say about this: so what? Remove one dollar of student fees and increase tuition by one dollar. I don’t care, I pay it all at the same office anyway. Or allow a limited allocation of funds over a set period of time, and stick to it. We’re all adults and can recognize the necessity of breaking previously sacred boundaries in a time of need, and then returning to them when the need is no longer there. Collecting and saving actual student dollars for the hypothetical possibility of future bowling alleys and food courts seems, as of now, unconscionable.

In light of all these considerations, I respectfully suggest that you voice your opposition to the setting-aside of these dollars and voice support for some more reasonable alternative.

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