EDITORIAL: Urge creation of student committee for space allocation
On Monday afternoon, the Student Union sent out an email to the undergraduate population detailing a proposal to create a joint student and administrative committee to allocate campus spaces to various campus groups and organizations. The email lays out three possible paths forward: maintain the status quo, where administrators get to make final decisions with no student input; create a committee of administrators and students to allocate spaces to student clubs and organizations; or go back to the drawing board.
This board endorses the Union’s second proposal, with some qualifications. There are some situations where it is necessary to reallocate campus spaces among student groups and organizations. When these situations arise, determining who has to move and who gets to keep certain spaces can be a difficult decision.
Currently, only ad-hoc groups of administrators play a role and have final say in the decision-making process and determination of how spaces are allocated. This board believes that student representatives who are determined to be as impartial as possible should be involved in these deliberations and have an active voice in the final decision. It is only appropriate for students, who are most directly affected by these choices and may understand subtleties and nuances about the missions of various groups, to make a choice that impacts students.
However, one must differentiate between student-run groups and organizations — clubs — and University-run entities such as the Chaplaincy or the Brandeis Undergraduate Group Study program.
While student input is necessary for allocating space for student-run groups, University-operated organizations need to be approached from a more practical standpoint, taking into account financial and organizational experience. For this reason, this board believes that when student-run groups and University-run organizations clash over allocated space, student representatives should play a strictly advisory role. Certainly the opinions and experiences of students must be considered whenever students are affected by a decision, but students in turn must recognize broader potential implications for University-run bodies. These choices may survive their four years at Brandeis and can impact aspects of the University’s operations that students may not fully understand or consider. The ultimate decision should be left up to the administration, provided they have sufficiently garnered input from all parties involved and have given them extensive notice regarding the proposed change. In addition, there must be an appeals process whereby both sides can present their case to a committee.
Ultimately, it is up to the administration to create this committee. This board urges the Student Union to advocate for its creation with certain caveats and considerations and to hold the University accountable in order to ensure space is allocated in the fairest way possible.