In defense of the Union weekend: student considers the cost of change

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By Lacey Reimer

Although I respect and understand much of what has been said in Rhea Howard’s article from last week, there are several points that I find to have made blanket statements without sufficient research or have little evidence to back them up. While I agree that the gym should open earlier, that O3 should be open on the weekends and that there should be 24/7 key card access to buildings, especially Reamer, most other points I have to disagree with.

I believe that Union is overly obsessed with its image and rankings, and the ranking as the No. 5 party school definitely did not make the administration happy. However, I think that the school does care about the “content of the students’ weekend activities.”

Just consider the new rules that were set in place in the fall concerning first-years and non-Greek sophomores attending parties and other events with alcohol. During this time, the Minerva houses were required to host events to attract the student body as a way of showing other nightlife options on campus.

More recently, Reamer hosted a party that went until 2 a.m., not to mention the numerous theme house events, several parties at Old Chapel and copious amounts of Minerva events. Clearly, Union seems to care, at least to a degree, about its students’ weekend activities and not solely about negative press.

In addition, I disagree with the statement “no one is expected to be physically capable of movement until noon,” referring to the gym hours on weekends. That is a generalization and there is no way to prove that. Moreover, the library hours have a direct correlation to the amount of students typically in the library each hour. For a good portion of last year, the library staff, myself included, had to go around counting each person in the library each hour. This allowed us to see when the library was busiest.

Later that year, the library hours on Fridays and Saturdays lengthened from closing at 10 p.m. to midnight in order to accommodate people who want to work there later. Past midnight, and contrary to the statement that there is no dedicated study space open 24/7, students can move to Wold Center, where they can study by Starbucks, in a classroom or in the Mac lab. There are also Minerva study spaces, and students can access their Minervas (if they don’t live there) until 2 a.m.

The article also states that it’s the principle that counts in terms of making these accommodations. However, thousands of dollars would be spent keeping the electricity on, paying staff members, and in terms of dining, making food that perhaps no one would eat. Judging by the fact that Union recently raised over $250 million and still managed to increase our tuition, I think it is safe to say the student body would inherit the costs of such endeavors. When the cost is so high, I don’t think we should do something simply because it’s the principle that counts.

If research was conducted or surveys were sent around campus and the results showed whether these options would be utilized, they might make sense to implement. But before there is concrete evidence, it is just not worth the cost.

Finally, I see no correlation between food offered on the weekends and partying habits at Union. Every Saturday in West there are mozzarella sticks and wings, just like how every Tuesday there is turkey. The food is the same Monday through Friday in Upper. However, the article does not even mention the mozzarella sticks; aside from the wings, the only foods that are mentioned are foods that are always at West (burgers, fries, quesadillas and pizza), no matter the day.

In general, it is clear to see that Union does not accommodate everyone, especially in terms of buildings’ hours of operation and dining options. On the other hand, the school does seem to keep the students in mind and does not function arbitrarily.

In order to fix Union’s shortcomings, it is necessary to provide sufficient data and research, as those types of results will be more persuasive than many of these assumptions.

 

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