Construction inconvienient for students

The archives of the Torch are probably littered with the hand-wringing of students from every decade, complaining about every time the University has added a building, beautified the campus, or done practically any other thing that present students today enjoy. No construction comes without an inconvenience to the current student base, but it is the University’s job to look further down the line than that.

A line is crossed, however, when the burden of inconvenience becomes something more: an actual educational hindrance. After cutting back on the library collection last semester (for essentially more office space), current students now find themselves without a library at all. Over the summer, the library was closed off for “emergency repairs” and as of the day before classes begin, it still has not reopened its doors.

It is embarrassing enough for half of the campus you call your own to have the appearance of a war zone. But it is unacceptable to have its inconvenience extend so far that the University library is unavailable to students.

Perhaps the University could not have foreseen all of these problems with the library. It may be understandable that they could not have predicted having to close the library. However, there is another question that must be on the minds of all returning students: What is taking so long?

After spending the last two semesters walking upon planks of wood over muddy pits and finding detours to class that avoid the construction, one could hardly be faulted for expecting some better conditions after the long break of the summer.

Yet when commuters step off the Q46 bus starting on Wednesday morning, they will be met with almost the same scene at the entrance off Union Turnpike that they left behind months ago.

The piles of dirt remain, the parking lots are still coated with a thick layer of dust that is sure to end up on every commuter’s car by the end of the first day, the path around Carnesecca is just as impassible (though the blocked off area has shrunk a bit), and the site of the new UC building looks as much like a big hole in the ground as it did last year. As if to highlight the construction’s continued presence at St. John’s, a crane now towers over campus from its position near Sun Yat Sen Hall.

If anything, it looks to be slightly more difficult to get onto campus. They will be familiar, though, with the blocked off walkways and piles of dirt and rock. Students will be left wondering what happened all summer and thinking that through all of this inconvenience, they probably will not get anything from it – particularly those who are not moving into the new housing.

It is a well-documented problem that the University needs more dormitories and other facilities. Surely no one will argue that the buildings will not be worth it in the long run.

However, after managing with a messy campus for a year already, the least students could ask for is a presentable welcome after a summer vacation and a usable library. These inconveniences, along with their longevity, and the library closing to top it all off, give today’s students a good reason to be upset.

Future prospects are important, but current students are paying for a good University experience as well. Despite the need for more dorms, it must be remembered that this is a place whose primary goal is education and when that is compromised in any way, a line has been crossed.