Executive Board pushes back against limited Union hours
During the Executive Board meeting, Director of the Union Dr. Charlie Potts asserted that it was not safe to keep the Student Union open 24/7, citing staffing and cost issues. Dr. Potts also requested the removal of ID access for the Union from 8 am to 6 pm in order to open the building to the general public. According to Potts, the Union made $75,000 in sales on move-in day, and opening the Union to the public may improve sales as a whole.
Vice President for Rules and Special Projects Abigail Golden ’25 disagreed with keeping the Union open for limited hours, claiming the decision forced students to “be trapped elsewhere” for the sake of profit.
Graduate student and Business Operations Committee Chairperson Brian Anderson noted that since the Folsom Library is also not open 24/7, there must be a space on campus for students to stay overnight, should they feel unsafe at their place of residence.
Potts elaborated that the Union does not have security measures in place for overnight access, and Public Safety is not reliable for this task. Similarly, Director of Student Activities Cameron McLean stressed that the Union should not be considered a safe house, as it cannot guarantee student safety.
Possible solutions included having the Union open 24/7 during finals week, as suggested by UPAC Chair Sneha Ranjit ’23, or adding a blue light pole to the Union for emergencies, as suggested by Club Representative Catherine Philipps ’24.
Class of 2024 Representative Kriti Sharma ’24 mentioned that architecture studios were used overnight by students with card access, noting that it wasn’t fair to those who don’t have card access. Club Operations Committee Chairperson Natalia Lago ’24 added the fact that most colleges have a library open 24/7.
Club Representative Ava Gallagher ’23 proposed closing the Union “a little past midnight” as a compromise. Gallagher also suggested restricting the number of open floors as a security measure. However, Potts replied that it is illegal to shut off the elevator in the Union, so floors cannot be closed off individually.
Graduate student and Counselor to the President Matt Zapken asked if there would be administrative overreach if the Executive Board, which manages Union operations, did not support limited Union hours. Potts responded that he does not support opening the Union 24/7, and if the hours were extended, the students would be responsible for the decision. Potts also emphasized the importance of compromise and maintaining a good faith partnership.
McLean remarked that if an incident occurred after extending Union hours, “there [would be] a lot to be lost in a lawsuit.” Similarly, Member-At-Large Representative Nick Longchamp ’24 alluded to the fight to keep the Union student-run, claiming that “all student power can be lost” if an incident happened.
Potts ended the discussion by recommending to keep the current hours in place and figure out another solution in the future.
RPI Rudras, a club for competitive classical Indian dance, requested a new club program titled “Fundraising” as well as a $250 subsidy reallocation for costume rentals. Both the program and reallocation were unanimously approved.
An additional $1,000 subsidy for Women’s Club Soccer to rent a bus to a game in Ithaca, NY was also unanimously approved.
E-Board confirmed two new members: Mitchell Healey ’24 was appointed to student government communications committee chair, while Karina Sandoval ’24 was appointed to multicultural leadership council chair.
This Executive Board meeting was held on September 1. The Executive Board meets at the Shelnutt Gallery on Thursdays at 8 pm.