‘Perfect storm’ reveals poor priorities

Jamie Hill

I remain unconvinced that the Quinnipiac administration has their current students’ best interests at heart.

Student event space was hindered by Alumni Hall renovation. Student organization office space will disappear after spring break. Meeting space in the Carl Hansen Student Center will soon be whittled down to one room (SC227). It feels like the perfect storm to impede the progress of students who are involved and motivated.

The given construction timetable very well may be the most efficient for the university, as Associate Vice President for Facilities Joseph Rubertone notioned. Spring break was “the logical time to move,” added Associate Director of Student Center and Leadership Development Nicolette Yevich said.

As student leaders for organizations, we are getting penalized for being involved. We are not getting an apology, an excuse, or even a clear and timely explanation. Different faculty members from different departments are telling students different things, while most student leaders have not been told face to face that their office spaces will be permanently dismantled.

Right on the home page of Quinnipiac’s website, the mission statement begins with “At Quinnipiac, students are our first, second and third priorities.” But it appears that future students are taking precedence over current students. More than 8,000 currently enrolled students are being pushed and prodded from one building to the next, promised one thing and given another, forced to accomodate fewer and fewer meeting spaces, all the while being told that we are the university’s top priority.

I was told that when we come back as alumni, we will appreciate the new student center and the completed renovations. We do not want to be seen as future alumni, but current students who have the same needs and responsibilities as future students. Of course every university must look to the future needs and wants of its students, yet it seems like this university is leaning in that direction far more than is fair to current enrollees.

The second-floor hallway in the student center, where more than 25 chartered student organizations currently hold office space, will be “renovated” during spring break – which, if it undergoes the same “renovation” as Alumni Hall, means it may sit untouched for 12 weeks.

Alumni Hall was closed “for renovation,” last semester – or at least that’s the sign we were met with on our first day back to school. But there were no signs of any construction on Alumni Hall at all until after Thanksgiving. That means 12 weeks of active school time went by when students could have been using Alumni Hall for big events like movie screenings and speakers. Alumni Hall was the only facility available outside of the Recreation Center for certain kinds of large-scale events, and it was kept closed and out of reach for a full 12 weeks. If there is a good reason, the average QU student doesn’t know it. (“Hazardous materials” were found, which delayed renovations.)

“I don’t have a background in construction, I don’t understand how all that works. Sure, it would be great if we could shut down in May and restart in September; I’ve never worked at an institution that worked that way,” Yevich said.

Quinnipiac is a blossoming university. All of these construction projects will make the university look and ostensibly work better. But only students can build the community, and we can’t forget that they are the most important construction workers for this school.