Amid construction delays and sustained complaints from student groups who still don’t know when their new office spaces will be ready, ASPSU President Erin Devaney has decided to reappoint the Smith Memorial Student Union Advisory Board and the Space Allocation Committee.
Her move comes in the middle of a particularly contentious space allocation process that has seen squabbles over assigned offices and move-in dates pushed back routinely since July due to construction woes.
Devaney informed Lindsey Craven and Nicole Browning that they were serving over their term of one year on the board three weeks ago and began the process of reappointing students to the SMSU Advisory Board. Former members Craven and Browning claimed that their appointments were for two years, yet failed to produce bylaws as proof.
“I gave them more than enough time to find those bylaws,” Devaney said. “I had a set of approved bylaws from last year and the Faculty Governance Guide saying it’s one year.”
Devaney has already appointed Mario Campbell, Molly Woon and Sa’eed Haji to the SMSU Advisory Board, with Campbell already approved. Once the process of reappointing new board members is complete, the board will appoint new members to the Space Allocation Committee with the help of a representative from each Student Activities and Leadership Programs student group cluster. By requiring the involvement of student groups, Devaney hopes to better involve student groups in the process that determines where their offices are.
“The committee existed with only a few members who were students already sitting on the SMSU Advisory Board,” Devaney said. “I don’t want it to be just representatives from ASPSU.” Devaney added that the end of the week is a tentative date to have the space committee appointed.
At least one former SMSU Advisory Board member will remain involved in the transition process. Lindsey Craven has volunteered to help smooth the transition as new board members take over.
“Lindsey is very willing to help the transition,” Devaney said. “It’s important to continue the plans of the last board.” Key areas of concern have to do with building funding and construction concerns. Once the transition is complete, Devaney intends to hold public forums for student groups to have a voice in the space allocation process.
“I’d like a session where students can voice their concerns,” she said. “Though I don’t think anyone will move before their space is completed.”
Some student groups, such as Students for Unity, have received no further information about moving into new offices since move-out notices were sent to them in July, creating frustration and confusion.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Students for Unity coordinator Kayla Goldfarb said. “The office we’re supposed to move into [in M113] is occupied. We’re not planning on moving any time soon.”
According to John Eckman, associate director of Auxiliary Services, the new student space in the old Telecommunications area next to the large student group space M113 should be done by Oct. 31. New student space on the third floor mezzanine is already completed, as is the men’s restroom on the second floor.
“We’ve had issues with the fire alarms needing to be tested [in the Telecom area],” Eckman said. “But the space is ready.”