Executive Board revokes office use to conduct Student Government Suite renovations
During the Executive Board meeting on Thursday, Business Operations Committee chairperson Brian Anderson and President of the Union Yaseen Mahmoud ’22 proposed a renovation of the Student Government Suite that would restructure the suite’s limited space. As a consequence of the renovation, the Amateur Radio Club and Elections Commission will be revoked from accessing their offices in the suite and a room dedicated to GM Week preparations will remain inaccessible.
In the presentation, Anderson suggested renovations like meeting booths, window blinds, furniture improvements to the outdoor balcony, and an electronic device that would streamline room reservations. The presentation also listed four committees that would be given an office in the proposed suite: the Graduate Council, the Undergraduate Council, the Judicial Board, and a shared office for the Grand Marshal and President of the Union.
Club Operations Committee chairperson Natalia Lago ’24 asked how the list of committees who needed offices were assembled. Anderson responded that, in 2019, a survey was fielded to all organizations with an office to gather data on how spaces were being used. However, since the room was called the Student Government Suite, the list prioritized governing bodies of the Union over other groups.
Member-at-Large representative Minh Nguyen ’22 noted that this proposal had connections to Project Domino, a plan that aimed to reallocate club spaces throughout the Union. The SGS renovation was part of the plan, but since Project Domino expired before it was finished, Nguyen wondered if the club relocations would need to go through the Executive Board for final approval. Anderson confirmed this to be true.
Regarding the purpose of the renovation, Mahmoud clarified that the renovation will provide more space and reorganize the layout of the suite to simultaneously accommodate the general student body and student government. Anderson followed up by saying that the renovation would dedicate an area to hold committee meetings and free up the public rooms that the meetings were previously held in.
UPAC chairperson Kenzie Moore ’22 asked if other student government committees were interested in the renovation. Anderson replied that conversations were held with the committees that were expected to have an office. However, Moore and Interfraternity Council President Doug Ladzinski ’24 said that they did not receive any notifications about the project.
As the meeting progressed past the 40-minute mark, Nguyen delivered critiquing observations over the renovation’s undertones. The former SGCC chairperson called the project “exclusive,” noting that there were other spaces in the Union such as the Multicultural Lounge and Lavender Lounge that haven’t been fully moved into. Nguyen further questioned if the time and effort spent on renovating a “huge room” that “most of the students are too afraid to use” was worth the cost. Ultimately, Nguyen proposed that the focus should be on getting more organizations interested in using the current suite rather than modifying the space entirely.
In contrast, Member-at-Large representative Kripa Khanal ’24 agreed with the proposal. Khanal commented that the study spaces and furniture in the Student Government Suite were “awkward” to use and a complete refurbishment would be beneficial. Mahmoud followed up by calling the renovation a “rebranding,” since the project would attempt to move away from appearing exclusive to the student government and provide a larger study space to the student body.
A member of the Board present during the meeting asked if current organizations with an office in the suite agreed with the renovation. Anderson responded that the organizations were given a chance to appeal, and he has not received any follow-ups. The revocation was set to be effective on March 18.
After the motion was read, a member of the Board debated if setting the revocation date during the middle of the semester was a good idea. As a result, the date was changed to May 1. The motion to revoke the use of office spaces in the Student Government Suite passed 14-3-0.