The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Odds without ends

If you were to ask one of your professors, or even a fellow student, about the construction of the new University Center/Academic Center, I’d wager they’d give you this response: no way that thing will be built in time for next
semester. No way.

That’s the answer I’ve heard from a number of different people on campus, and, given the building’s current look, I can’t blame them much for making that assumption.

The recent discovery that the proposed new academic schedule would not be put in place next semester, and would be postponed until the Spring 2010 semester, added fuel to the fire.

Now, those same professor and student naysayers began telling me that the reason the schedule change had to be postponed was partly because the University was not going to have access to the classrooms the new UC/AC will provide.

But these rumors are simply hearsay. From what I’ve found, University administrators are confident that the new University Center will be complete for its intended August opening, and the delayed implementation of the new academic schedule, officials told me, has nothing to do with the 13 new classrooms the UC/AC will provide.

Why are there persisting rumors that the building will not be finished in time? That’s a question that I am struggling to answer.

University Provost Dr. Julia Upton also found it to be a difficult question when she spoke with a Torch reporter earlier this week.
“I don’t know why there are so many rumors,” she said. “I have no evidence to support that it won’t be done on time.”

And that’s certainly true. After all, how is it that students and professors think they know the building won’t be complete come August? Do they all have years of construction experience and know just by looking at its skeleton frame that the structure is behind schedule? I’ve yet to see any hard evidence.

Brij Anand, vice president for Facilities, and various members of the construction team over at the work site confirmed that the building is on target for an opening in August 2009. With that in mind, I’m even more confused by the stunning amount of rumors I’ve heard from people on campus about an alleged
delayed opening.

Perhaps students and faculty members are hesitant to believe the intended date of completion after the construction problems that happened early last semester with the library.

Maybe there is just an overwhelming sense of pessimism and negativity on this campus. Or, perhaps more realistically, it is a combination of the two.

Either way, I recommend the University take proactive steps to reassure faculty members and students that the UC/AC is on schedule. Many administrators adamantly told me that the building will be finished on time, but the amount of rumors I’ve heard lead me to believe that not everyone on campus
is convinced.

And to hear professors and even some administrators sounding uncertain about the construction date, I’d say it’s of utmost importance for University leaders to reassure the campus community.

Dr. Upton, when asked if she was certain about the UC/AC being finished on time, offered a safe and wise response: “There are too many variables involved for me to accurately predict if this is going to be done on time.”

It’s true that we can’t say anything for sure, and Dr. Upton is right to mention that we can never be 100 percent certain about anything. But from what I’ve seen, a little more certainty needs to be injected into the SJU community.

So don’t believe what your professors or fellow students may tell you: the new UC/AC is on schedule, and the delayed implementation of the new academic schedule has nothing to do with that building, according to administrators.

But there’s only so much I can say. It’s up to the University’s higher ups to fully convince the rumor-filled student body and faculty.

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