The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

More communication would be constructive

The S&B hears its fair share of nasty rumors that have to be chased down only to discover that somebody cried wolf and got everyone riled up. Occasionally however, these rumors that we think are ridiculous somehow actually become reality.

We thought that Cleveland was just being paranoid when we heard that Facilities Management was building a door to the Computer lab so that some authoritarian entity could lock the lounge at night. “They” want to crack down on smoking and partying and everything that makes college fun—or at least that’s the way the rumor goes.
Despite our doubt, we looked into it, and that story is on the front page. But as we learned more and more about the installation of the door, we began to doubt the complaints less and less.

First off, construction started without so much as an email to students. The email from RLC Eric Vos was a day late and rather uninformative. It gave no explanation, no end date, just an announcement that construction had started, which was a moot point. We understand that there was a communication problem between Vos and FM but frankly, the lack of concern about communication is an ongoing problem that this space discusses way more than it should. We hope that Cleveland will accept the apology from FM, but an apology is only sincere when there is action to prevent the event from happening again. We hope that FM could take a page out of Security Director Steve Briscoe’s book and send out the emails themselves.

Two weeks ago, we used this space to advocate understanding concerning the Cleveland patrols because smoking is against the law and trying to restrict on-campus smoking is within the College’s prerogative. However, we think that locking the lounge is extreme for two reasons. Firstly, it’s unproductive. The administration should know through their previous experience with Cleveland that restricting the area in which people can smoke does nothing to restrict the act of smoking. People have legs—they will walk somewhere else and enjoy a cigarette.

On a deeper level, the act of locking the lounge assumes a relationship between students and administration that should not exist. There was never any student input in this project, despite it directly affecting their living arrangements. Additionally, the communication problems mentioned above regarding the construction reveal a lack of concern for student opinion. The patrols by security—which have worked—operate on system of trust that preserves student autonomy, locking the lounge does not.

The solution is clear to us and we have already made steps towards it. Andrea Conner should go on record saying that they will never, ever lock the lounge. Conner already said that they do not plan on locking the lounge because the patrols seem to be working. But a promise that the lounge would never be locked would show that Reslife is sincere in their apology.

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