Letters to the EditorOpinion

Letter: Administration should listen to students regarding EMU renovations

Why does the administration continue to press for its misguided EMU renovation plan that has little if any student support, when it has not been approved by the appropriate university committee and does not provide desperately needed educational facilities?

The administration’s plan for the EMU includes new conference facilities and a performance hall which would take space that could otherwise be used for student government and student group offices. Student leaders have expressed concerns about the lack of student input in the EMU project and a proposed increase in student fees to fund the renovation. They have asked for more student representation on the committee developing the plan and that the proposal includes more student offices, but both requests have been repeatedly turned down by the administration.  Instead of working with students, the administration continues to obstinately press forward with their plans in spite of a student referendum this past December which rejected any proposed increase in student fees for the proposed EMU renovation.

Campus Planning Committee @@http://pages.uoregon.edu/assembly/FacultyGovernanceArchive/dircom/[email protected]@members have also raised serious concerns about the plan. Their focus is on the proposed performance hall, which would significantly increase the footprint of the EMU and would all but destroy the extremely popular and attractive east lawn. A conference facility and performance hall in the heart of campus also raises serious parking and transportation issues that have not yet been adequately addressed.

Although there is some merit to having a conference center and performance hall on campus, these are not the core of a student union. Our highest facility priority must be to improve student spaces and to increase the number of classrooms. Student numbers have grown by 25 percent in four years without a concomitant increase in teaching facilities or faculty, resulting in a well-known lack of class offerings.  The University urgently needs more student-centered facilities in the center of campus rather than entertainment and profit-making enterprises.

Given these concerns, perhaps the administration would be better off listening to and working together with a broad range of campus stakeholder groups, especially students, to generate a renovated EMU that meets the most immediate needs of our students, faculty and staff.

Nathan Tublitz@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=staff&d=person&b=name&[email protected]@
University biology professor

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