March 17, 2016

Students Discuss Willard Straight Hall Room Reservation Policy

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The Willard Straight Hall Student Union and WSH Board of Directors held the second in a series of forums discussing the allocation of programming spaces on Wednesday.

The forums are necessary because the number of student organizations that wish to utilize space in Willard Straight Hall continues to increase, according to the Facebook page for the event.

Various student groups such as Cornell Minds Matter, Class Council, and Cornell Contra Dance Club were represented at the meeting, defending their use of the space.

David Peck, grad, representing Cornell Contra Dance Club, explained why the club needs to use the Memorial Room — saying it is one of the largest rooms available for student organizations to meet.

“It’s really the lifeblood of our organization,” he said. “If we can’t have events there, there is almost nowhere else on campus where we could move.”

Matt Ferguson ’16, president of Cornell Minds Matter, voiced the need for the spaces for its convenient location due to the nature of events they host.

“Cornell Minds Matter holds a lot of events in Willard Straight that are just open to the general community,” he said. “The location of Willard Straight is really important because we can get the same amount of people from Collegetown as we can from north campus as we can from west campus, versus if we isolated ourselves in one of those locations.”

The conversation centered around the efficient use of spaces and how to handle situations in which multiple groups want to schedule events in the same space.

The group also discussed how to divide the space between programming events and other purposes, such as weekly meetings as well as how to fairly allocate performance spaces.

“I think it should be first come, first served,” Daniel Engelson ’18, representing the Cornell Class Council said. “If you know you are a performance group that is going to need a certain space for the upcoming semester and you know one time block works well, you sign up for it, you get on top of it, and you book that room before another group books it. I don’t think there should be a hierarchy or time differentiation.”

Others disagreed, saying that there should be certain times reserved for performance groups and opportunities for groups that only want to hold one event to gain access to the space.

“I think that might be an opportunity for the board to come in and say, given that this group has had unfettered access to a room all of these weeks of the semester, we can at least open up a dialogue about whether they would be willing to move one time,” Peck said.

The next and final forum will be held on March 22 and will discuss weekly meeting spaces.