VANGUARD EDITORIAL: We can’t breathe down here

Thousands of students at Portland State have worked for and read our student publications for nearly 65 years.

Thousands of students at Portland State have worked for and read our student publications for nearly 65 years. Despite having no or limited academic programs strictly dedicated to supporting campus media, students have nonetheless succeeded in founding and growing a variety of media to educate themselves and gain experience in their fields.

But with such significant interest on campus, publications currently have little space to meet their needs. The establishment of a student media center is greatly needed for the students of PSU.

With the acquisition of the Market Center Building, PSU will be transitioning most of its administrative offices to that location. This will, in turn, free up various spaces within the core PSU buildings around the South Park Blocks, creating the perfect opportunity for the establishment of a campus media center.

The Vanguard is, and has been, grateful for the space it currently occupies in the sub-basement of Smith Memorial Student Union. It has served us well—along with publications such as the Rearguard, the Spectator and others—in carrying out the various tasks and duties we oversee in producing news, commentary and art for the campus community.

It has also served to help the many students spending countless hours in the great depths of the sub-basement garner appreciation for a number of qualities associated with working and educational life that many may take for granted—qualities such as light or air. As those who have experienced the luxuries of the sub-basement can testify, time down here is much like taking a 12-hour overnight flight—poor air quality and complete darkness if not for the glow of radiating florescent light.

However, unlike the trappings of an airplane, the sub-basement lacks other accoutrements such as plumbing. In the late hours of the day and stretching on into the evening, the doors are locked and the air is turned off, creating a hotbox of stale, stagnant air and crushing humidity.

Indeed, life in the sub-basement of Smith carries the threat of vitamin D deficiency, and looks like the defunded lab used to program and service Robocop. But aside from such minor inconveniences, publications find it difficult to attain visibility at this current location of over 10 years.

When the Vanguard was moved from the fourth floor of SMSU to the sub-basement in 1999, there was far more space for the publications to work or invite students to engage and contribute. Now, the space has been spliced significantly while Pathos, a literary magazine, is even relegated to a cramped corner of the Vanguard office and operates from a single desk—nearly impossible for most students to find.

Students find it simple to locate other services and groups on campus, such as ASPSU, which are highly visible and accessible. Campus publications are a service that require constant input and information from the students in order to function. But, many students do not know that a sub-basement exists in Smith, and in turn, have no idea that there are several publications down here that serve them. PSU’s student media needs to be accessible and visible to the community it serves.

As the shuffle of offices and administrative services at PSU begins, the university needs to acknowledge the tradition of, and fervor for, publications here on campus. A Portland State center for student media needs to be firmly established. Additionally, many student groups are left without a place to meet or store equipment. The sub-basement may not be a suitable environment in which to work nearly 40 hours per week, but it is appropriate and large enough to establish a shared meeting space and storage area for student groups, such as the space on the Smith mezzanine.

While this editorial may bear a sense of personal gain for the Vanguard, it is but one of a number of student media groups that would benefit from a change of scenery and the creation of a student media center. We would like to further recommend, if not beg for, at least one window at any possible new location for publications staff to congregate around.

Virginia Vickery Editor-in-Chief Corie Charnley News Editor  

Nicholas Kula Arts & Culture Editor Richard Oxley Opinion Editor

Robert Britt Sports Editor Kristin Pugmire Copy Chief