Administration Repurposes SU Rooms to Staff Offices
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Traditionally, the Student Union (SU) suite housed rooms that student-led clubs have occupied, including ARISTA, Big Sibs, and The Spectator. Due to the lack of space for faculty, the administration repurposed the three rooms within the SU suite into offices for staff members. The SU will not transition out of their room because it is used by their faculty advisor, social studies teacher and Coordinator of Student Affairs Matt Polazzo.
For the new school year, the administration hired new personnel and looked to create offices for them in the SU room. “We did partner with a few organizations, we hired more staff, and so in the short term, we have to maximize what we can,” Principal Seung Yu said. “Right now, at least under this year, we made the decision that we were going to use some of the space in the SU’s bigger space: two rooms, from my understanding, that were not used very much, so we wanted to at least use them for what we could.”
The administration chose the SU suite due to the lack of space elsewhere in the school building. “There are spaces that are currently not utilized because they’re going through renovation, and some of these projects have been a lot longer than anticipated,” Yu said. “For instance, the robotics lab and the hydroponic lab.”
The new offices will be provided for the technology team, special education team, and the deans. “What we’re gonna have is the old Spectator space, which is currently at the back corner of the SU room, that’s going to be used by the technology team, the two additional folks that we hired,” Yu said. “In one case, we have put [biology teacher and Assistant Principal of Teacher Development Marianne] Prabhu, the new Assistant Principal, in the ARISTA office.”
The rooms previously occupied by student organizations were often used for storage or meetings. For the Big Sib Chairs, they used their room to hold meetings and store their belongings, homeroom signs, and t-shirt boxes. “When it was the first week of school, we would meet there every day because there was homeroom every day,” senior and Big Sib Chair Syeda Zahan said. “After that, it was at least once a week that we were in the room because we had to make sure that for future events we were planning ahead, and just to communicate with each other how the Big Sib program, in general, was going.”
For The Spectator, the room was used to house boxes of issues and archives of previous issues. “We mostly used it to do work during free periods on The Spectator and otherwise, and we also used it to store all the records, papers, and materials, such as our merchandise and other things we do, but mostly our papers and the archives,” senior and The Spectator Business Manager Jared Moser said.
When the change was implemented, clubs were initially not informed of this change. “We were notified on the day that they decided to commandeer our room. It was like a short e-mail that only Syeda got from [Assistant Principal of Pupil Personnel Services Casey] Pedrick, I believe,” senior and Big Sib Chair Aaron Wang said.
As the change went underway, many club leaders were frustrated by the short notice and the lack of student input, reporting little communication with the administration. “After my class ended, I went down to see the room and they were already taking stuff out which, like Aaron said, [had] no input from us and [was] just very administrative, just decisions without asking ahead of time,” Zahan said. “We always made sure to respect the area whenever we were in the room for meetings or whatever [...] so we, or at least I, felt a little betrayed that they didn’t give us a little bit of respect because we were so respectful to the room they gave us, and for all our contributions to the school.”
Some students were notified of the transition through other club leaders. “I just found out because I heard the Spec room was being [repurposed], or taken away, and I heard that people were really unhappy about that within Spec and among the [editorial board],” senior and Big Sib Chair Daniela Maksin said.
Yu acknowledged the lack of communication, but also emphasized the urgency of the situation. “When you start making these decisions, sometimes, not every consideration is made,” Yu said. “Ideally, we would have loved to have had conversations and been able to make sure everyone was in the know. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and so we had to make some quick decisions.”
As club leaders became aware of the transition, they contacted the administration to address the situation. “In regards to the removal of other clubs in the SU suite, no students were made aware of the transition when the decision was made,” senior and SU President Shivali Korgaonkar said in an e-mail interview. “However, when we found out, conversations occurred between the SU and administration to ensure that there was direct communication around the future of the SU suite moving forward.”
For the Big Sib leaders, the removal of their room did not greatly affect their club procedures. “As of now, our transition hasn’t really been too much affected because our program doesn’t rely on the office itself in order to function since it’s more of a spread out sort of thing across different homerooms,” Wang said.