February 22, 2012

Study lounge may see change

In recent weeks, two different proposals have reached the Knox College Student Senate regarding the potential repurposing of the Carl Sandburg Study Lounge.

The first proposal, brought up by Dean of Students Debbie Southern, would leave half the space open for studying and allocate the other half for the office of the Director of International Student Services — a new position starting next year.

“It makes sense because a lot of people who use that lounge are international students,” Senate President and senior Gordon Barratt said.

The lounge, though, holds no specific designation for any group of students. While it is primarily used by international students, the space is open for use by anyone 24/7.

The second idea, proposed by Director of Information Technology Services Steve Hall, was to move the computer help desk from SMC into the Carl Sandburg Lounge. After help desk hours, any students seeking computer help would then be directed to Founders Lab.

“[The idea of repurposing the lounge] is aimed at a larger project of turning Seymour into a student union,” Barratt said.

Despite positive intentions, many users of the Carl Sandburg Lounge object to the room’s repurposing.

“It’s the only place on campus where you can quietly study after hours, outside of Founders,” senior Celestina Agyekum said. She then went on to describe the unproductive late-night atmosphere in Taylor Student Lounge — the other 24-hour space in Seymour.

Other Lounge users feel that placing the Director of International Student Services in the room would send a message that no one besides international students are welcome to use the space. They also feel that having two purposes for one room would be counterproductive considering the small size of the space.

“I don’t see why they need to put an office here when there are so many rooms in SMC and Old Main that aren’t being used,” sophomore Tundun Lawani said.

Prior to Senate’s last discussion regarding this issue, students who use the study space were invited to attend the meeting and share their views. The topic was discussed but no official decision was made, as all official repurposing must be done through Knox College administration.

“[The views of the administration] are definitely not solidified in any way, shape or form regarding this topic,” interim Vice President and Technology Chair JC Weinberg said. “It is in [Dean Southern’s] hands for the most part.”

“Ultimately it would be an administrative decision, though I would still like to put it to a vote,” Barratt said.

Camille Brown
Camille Brown is a junior majoring in English literature and double minoring in educational policy and journalism. Previously, she served as editor-in-chief of her high school paper and a reporter for TKS. She spent the summer of 2012 freelancing for The Peninsula Gateway and is currently pursuing an independent study concerning the media’s influence on education.

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