To the editor:
Recent news about schedule changes and construction changes on campus have left me baffled over the University’s decision-making process.
Provost Dr. Julia Upton recently told the Torch that next year’s planned schedule change is “not a popularity contest” but, rather, “a decision based on what’s going to make a better university.” This sounds like a commendable policy.
But what’s troubling is that the University is taking the opposite stance on construction. A Torch article earlier this semester revealed that administrators plan on halting construction to the library and instead renovating St. John Hall. The new construction plan, Dr. James Pellow said, is a way in which the University is responding to student feedback. So, in other words, it’s the popular thing to do.Let me be clear: renovating St. John Hall is not “what’s going to make a better university.”
The library has been under construction for nearly two years now and has an entirely gutted second floor. As a result, a good percentage of books are located in the closed stacks, locked away from students.
Apparently, the library’s disarray has made it extremely difficult to find many of these books. More than half the time I’ve asked for books in the closed stacks, librarians have come back empty handed.
For students who are even remotely serious about their academics, the St. John’s library has become a joke. And, though St. John Hall could surely stand a few renovations (as could most buildings on campus), finishing the construction on St. Augustine Hall is undoubtedly “what’s going to make a better university.” It is inexcusable for an academic institution to have such a faulty, incomplete library.
According to the Torch, the plan to renovate St. John Hall will be brought to the University’s executive board in March.
If the University wants to retain any credibility as an institute of higher learning, it ought to remain consistent in its decision-making policy and reject this new construction proposal, allowing the money to go towards adequately finishing St. Augustine Hall. Students of a respectable university should not be forced to travel to the New York Public Library during finals week.
If we are to believe Dr. Upton, this school bases its decisions on what’s in the institution’s best interest, not just what is popular. For our sake, let’s hope she’s right.
Gregory LeporatiFormer Torch Editor-in-ChiefEnglish Graduate Student