The recent announcement that the College may be looking to locate a brand new computer facility in the Physics-Optics-Astronomy Library has incited a fair amount of student frustration over the rumored changes that would alter the library as students know it.
According to Dean of the College Faculty Peter Lennie no final decision has been reached, and it appears it is not too late for students who have demonstrated their passion through fliering and Facebook protests to have a constructive voice in the decision-making process.
The administration has assured students that the POA Library is simply one possible location being considered for the new computer classroom, and that none of the study spaces in the library would be changed by this decision. If there is another space that can be used for this new classroom, however, it should be seriously considered before splitting up the POA Library. Since they use this space on a regular basis, students and faculty will most feel the impact of this change.
The Dean’s Office is also inviting student feedback and should make a definite effort to consider the reasoned and passionate arguments that various POA students and alumni have taken the time to construct. The Dean’s Office must genuinely listen to student feedback on this issue. The POA Library is a unique offering at UR that is important to students in those three majors. Moving the POA’s stacks to Carlson Library may seem like a compromise to administrators, but a small change, even a seemingly necessary one, could upset the library’s atmosphere that close-knit feeling of camaraderie and the community of majors that come together to work, learn and study within the confines of the library.
Both sides need to be sure to listen and work with each other: Students need to be open-minded and level-headed when expressing their concerns to the administration, and likewise, the administration needs to be transparent about their intentions and seriously consider such feedback, especially in a situation that directly affects students’ workspace and academic life.