It is the apparent administrative mantra for the year, or at least for the University Center.
In response to a student question about why the university chose to ignore the kitchen and facilities in its expensive remodel, President Lesley Hallick said that because it could not afford to do both, the university chose to “brighten up the place.”
While aesthetic appeal is important in attracting new students, the university should be focusing on the well being of the students already under its care.
Point blank, there is no excuse to put $10 million into cosmetics and continue to make students sick in the process.
Because of the limited space in the kitchen, students with food allergies, including gluten intolerance, have been made sick again and again because of cross-contamination.
Despite attempts from the cooking staff to provide reasonable options, they acknowledge that cross-contamination is impossible to avoid because everything is cooked on one cook top.
The university did run into several remodel issues, including asbestos, which needed to be addressed and both prolonged the project and added to the budget.
But the choice to focus on the lounge and adding a skylight over fundamental problems was irresponsible and not cost-effective.
Not only was the kitchen ignored, the bottom-half of the UC was not touched even though it was the most clearly outdated portion of the building, providing offices and services to Student Senate, mail services, Ace Board, the Residence Hall Association, dining services and the transfer lounge.
To achieve the crisp and clean new look of the upper lounge, the administration sacrificed accommodating all of these organizations that service a much larger variety of students than the lounge does.
Since funding came directly from a food service provider, the obvious choice would be to improve on the facilities food services utilizes most. Unfortunately, while improving the facilities would have benefited the largest number of people, it wouldn’t have had a bright and shiny new look to show off.
There is no question that the UC is beautiful and looks very updated. No one is complaining about the new Starbucks or POD. The issue is that no one complained about lacking these renovated services in the first place.
This is not the first case of the university overlooking what students are asking for, and it probably won’t be the last.
Hallick also announced the possible addition of Junior Varsity locker rooms by the athletic facility and the renovation of Strain; both are needed but needed much less than other accommodations on campus.
The importance of attracting new students and appearing modern is not being overlooked. It is an integral part of the continuation of the growth of the university. Yet Pacific has reached a point where current paying students are feeling left behind for potential ones.
A skylight in the middle of the UC does no one any good when students are too busy hunched over, throwing up contaminated food to look up at it.
Please Pacific, ask us what we want and listen. We are the ones living here and, contrary to administrative belief, we have a pretty good idea about what we need.