For the first time this year, Boston University students are finally banding together to stand up for a cause they believe in. Unfortunately, the BU Student Union is showing that it is too timid to throw its support behind the needs of the student body in the face of a proposed elimination of residence hall computer labs.
The ill-conceived ‘wait and see’ approach from the Union is a disservice to the thousands of students who have expressed online their desire to keep the computer labs open. The time to speak out against the possible closure of the labs is now, when the administration has yet to make up its mind. If the university issues an official statement announcing the closure of residence hall computer labs, it will be too late. The chances of the administration reversing an official decision after it has been announced are slim.’
Even though the administration has not said anything official on the matter, that is no excuse for the Union to be biding its time. This is more than an unsubstantiated rumor; Academic Affairs Committee Chairman and Union presidential candidate James Sappenfield has confirmed that Director of Housing Marc Robillard and Associate Dean of Students John Weldon are considering eliminating the residence labs. This is reason enough for Union to declare that students will not tolerate a potential closure of the labs before its window of opportunity closes
There are countless reasons for Union to be coming out against a potential residence computer lab cut.’ The location of residence labs may have factored into students’ decision about where to live on campus next semester. Without the residential labs, students without printers are going to be forced to go all the way to Mugar Memorial Library to do their printing. Already these labs are overcrowded, and it is rare to find an open computer during the day. Printing can currently take hours, and this problem is sure to be exacerbated if residential labs close.’
The Union had an opportunity to redeem itself for an otherwise lackluster year by taking swift action and sending a clear message to the administration that closing the residential computer labs is unacceptable to the student body. Facebook groups and online petitions are not enough to significantly alter the decision-making process of the administration. By refusing to take the lead in this effort to save the residential computer labs, Union is once again failing in its role as a student advocacy group.