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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

PSU Administration Bans Classroom Use Under AD-62

When it comes to the trampling of students’ rights, Penn State University’s administration never ceases to amaze. President Graham Spanier and Vice President of Student Affairs Vicky Triponey have recently made it abundantly clear that their favorite pastime is marginalizing the student community, whether it’s through a THON hour cutback or unfair Paternoville regulations.

The newest policy introduced by the administration isn’t actually a new policy at all – in fact, it’s good ol’ AD-62, which you’ll remember is responsible for the ban on drinking and eating in classrooms. AD-62 is now being used to ban concerts in general-purpose classrooms, causing many student music ensembles scrambling to find new venues to showcase their art.

You can read all about the issue in the Daily Collegian, so I don’t need to go into great detail. The important, take-away point of this most recent assault on students’ rights is how easy it is for the wrecking ball in Old Main to single-handedly and unilaterally destroy any semblance of tradition here at Penn State.

This is infuriating for such organizations as student a cappella groups who have worked long and hard to put together holiday (notice how I didn’t say “Christmas?”) music programs for students and faculty to enjoy. Regardless of the administration’s reasoning behind the classroom use ban (according to the Collegian, “a result of misuse of the facilities”), such a tradition should be allowed to exist and flourish.

Unfortunately, the ban was implemented because a few students broke classroom furniture and didn’t clean up after themselves. I think it’s probably safe to say that student a cappella groups don’t generally jump on desks and spray silly string while singing Christmas carols, though I could be wrong. The administration also hasn’t provided alternative venues for the concerts or answered phone calls to groups requesting classroom use approval.

Once again, the administration has failed to care for its constituency. Once again, the administration has arrogantly turned a deaf ear to student wishes. Once again, the administration has undermined a tradition.

Another Penn State tradition, the Undergraduate Student Government, continues to remain active even after the administration dug its grave and carved its tombstone. Unfortunately, the administration no longer recognizes USG as the official voice of the students. Where USG in the past may have been able to bargain with the administration concerning unfair regulations like AD-62, the heads of the university have closed the door on such negotiating rights.

In USG’s place, the administration-approved University Park Undergraduate Association has been trying (and failing) to garner the political clout and community support that USG once had. The UPUA, with all its close ties to and origins within the administration, simply can’t advocate the kind of change that would overturn ridiculous implementations and bans such as those under AD-62.

Student governance is dead and “advocacy” has taken its place. In the process, all of the cogs and wheels of the mechanism that would facilitate true change – that is, the voices of concerned students – have been thrown out the window in favor of an Old Main-sponsored puppet show.

Sorry, student vocal groups. We’d love to help you out, but the administration just doesn’t care about us enough to listen to our concerns.

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What really makes this newest ban so laughable is the lame excuse that some organizations were irresponsible, so now no organizations are allowed to use the classrooms. Come on, get real Spanier & Co.

Student organizations who use classrooms are required to register them beforehand, so if something is broken or was “misused”, then the university should know exactly what group broke something and when.

In other words, hold groups accountable and stop banning everything fun and spontaneous about student life here.

ditto. if there are groups breaking things and making messes, then that is the problem, not music in classrooms. instead of making absurd rules, enforce the ones you have!

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