University administrators recently made the decision to move the LGBT and Mary Lou Williams centers from the future West Union building without first consulting the broader undergraduate community. Student consultation was restricted to the three students who serve on the West Union Planning Committee in order to first gain Board of Trustee approval for the project.
The Mary Lou Williams Center and the LGBT Center are venues that are not only spaces for cultural communities, but also the undergraduate community at large. We therefore object to how this decision was made and the assertion that undergraduate consultation and Trustee input are mutually exclusive. A decision of this type, by definition, requires community consultation before major decisions are made. Administrators must not again use Trustee approval as a reason for delaying or preventing necessary student consultation prior to major decisions affecting undergraduate life.
Fortunately, other important decisions about the West Union complex have yet to be made, and a plan exists to incorporate student input going forward. Student Affairs has agreed to create four student working groups focusing on the future of the two affected centers, dining culture and concepts and venues for student activities within the new complex. We hope that these dialogues are fully collaborative and that administrators consider a full range of student input in deciding the future of the centers, as well as the building as a whole.
As students, we now have a crucial opportunity to shape the future campus into OUR campus. Please keep informed of ongoing progress on the West Union project by attending upcoming forums, including an informational session this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Von Canon Auditorium in the Bryan Center. Upcoming opportunities to serve on the aforementioned working groups will also be advertised in the DSG blast.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts as we progress through this decisive time for our campus and how we move through it.
Duke Student Government Executive Board
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