In response to “Petitioning Against the Pit” by Alexa Lomberg (Feb. 26)
My name is Oscar Vazquez and I am Chair of the Student Union Governance Board (SUGB for short). I have a short response to CHP’s recent article titled, “Petitioning Against the Pit”. Alma Sifuente’s comment of “My concern is how much more comfortable can we make it when it’s really not meant to be a comfortable space,” Sifuentes said. “It’s a decanting space. You’re not going to go from a 5-bedroom house to a 2-bedroom apartment and not feel the impact. I know it’s really challenging, we are trying to make the best of it and hopefully we can come up with some sort of consensus.”
Alma Sifuentes’ comment carries a sentiment SUGB has spent months fighting against. The Student Union, its spaces, and its tenants are not areas or entities of leisure. The students and organizations within the Student Union and SUGB are entities that do a gargantuan amount of work and provide countless services to the campus that serve the general student population. So much so that these organizations continuously demonstrate to not only be of great value, but they are notorious for being cost effective with the already limited resources they are have. To provide an analogy that compares productive and professional office and meeting spaces to a 5 bedroom or 2 bedroom apartment is a disservice to the countless of programs that are planned and organized within the walls of the Student Union Buildings; such programs include the Multicultural Festival, Relay for Life, and statewide/nationwide conferences for sponsored organizations, wherein each example mentioned requires timeless coordination and organizing that the Student Union buildings and the organizations within it facilitate. The Student Union and its spaces are not a place of leisure; they are locations where coordination, planning and retention are experienced.
On the more technical side, Alma Sifuentes also has stated that there is 3,320 square feet of space in the Crown Pit when in fact there is actually closer to 2860 square feet. And the 2,860 square feet is only the sum of the perimeters of the 5 trailers and not the actual usable area within the trailers. 2 of those trailers are planned to only have lighting, no phone lines, Ethernet or air conditioning; these are important factors in any sort of professional meeting or office space. The other 3 trailers have a bathroom in each, each of which measures around 88 square feet, with a total of 264 square feet. Contrary to popular belief, a bathroom is not a suitable space to hold a meeting and a bathroom seat is not the most comfortable seat to use for an office space. Beside the fact that these bathrooms have thin walls and that a more accurate trailer square footage is 2,606, the Trailers in the Crown Pit still offer less than 1/3 of what the SUGB, its tenants and what the student body is used to of their Student Union.
Oscar Vasquez is the Chair of the Student Union Governance Board