Space committee reconsiders basement

A last-minute second look at open space in Smith Memorial Student Union basement influenced updates in student group assignment recommendations, Space Allocation Committee members said Monday.

If the additional basement space is used as suggested in the Space Allocation Committee’s proposal, it will provide alternatives to the points of student group contention in the original allocation plan.

The Space Allocation Committee is a subcommittee under the Smith Advisory Board.

Members have worked this year to assign newly available space to student groups. This process has given offices to groups that previously did not have offices, and shuffled some groups with existing space.

When the subcommittee announced its preliminary decisions two weeks ago, new areas assigned were the central block in the mezzanine on the third floor of Library East, second floor offices where Telecom is currently housed, and some unoccupied basement offices.

According to Space Allocation Committee Chair Wafa Ghnaim-Alston, eight out of 60 groups appealed the initial allocations.

But between the initial assignments and yesterday’s recommendations, the committee added a new office to the mix. The committee recommended housing the Outdoor Program in Room 47, in the northwest corner of the basement, rather than in 115, the space currently occupied by the Vanguard Advertising office.

The basement space had been available but not discussed in the initial allocations, SAC member Lindsey Craven said. "This came into conversation last week."

"Now the basement has come into play," subcommittee member Nicole Browning said.

The Vanguard had appealed reassignment of its advertising office to the basement room 28. Under yesterday’s recommendations to SAB, the advertising office would stay in its current location.

Other groups saw changes in plans, too.

Students For Unity, which currently occupies M103, had applied to keep the current space and continue to share space with current roommate OSPIRG. The committee initially assigned SFU to to-be-remodeled space in the telecommunications offices from M107 to M113. Under the suggested plan, OSPIRG keeps the same reassignment to M107-12.

Progressive Student Union members "completely and totally disagree" with the group’s rating, member Lew Church told the committee. Church especially took issue with the rating assigned to the group.

SAC rated the group at zero out of 20 points for SALP policy adherence and subtracted 25 points for lack of adviser recommendation.

"We’ve asked for space for two years," Church said. "It’s silly [to deny our request] if there is plenty of space. We deserve space and we have a right to it."

The subcommittee plans to have its parent board discuss and vote on the space allocations at its next meeting, Monday, March 14.

"We’d like to get voting done before spring term," subcommittee member Carrie Medina said. She added later, "There are obviously going to be a few dissenting opinions from a few groups."

The subcommittee will hold a student organization forum from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Thursday.