Staff Editorial

We were recently disturbed to hear of engineers surveying Hulbert House with the intent of putting something new in its place. Otherwise known as the McCarthy Co-op, Hulbert House is a special place to a number of students, whether as a hangout spot or a cooperative home environment.
Furthermore, it was unclear as to how these kinds of construction plans had developed. Why would the administration do away with a house of historical notability as well as social significance?
As it turns out, plans have been in the making for the construction of a new campus center since 1998, when the board of trustees appointed a residence life task force made up of faculty, staff, alumni, and current students to gather information and input for this and other projects. According to the university webpage for campus planning, the need to expand facilities for dining, activities, and community interaction beyond the scale of Memorial Union had been identified in 1989.
Although there were no student polls or surveys dealing specifically with the Hulbert House site, students were given the opportunity to attend administrative discussions on possible locations for the new campus center. The final decision to build the campus center on the Hulbert lot, however, was made in recent years but was not explicitly announced to the student body.
The earlier stages of the planning process belong largely to our forbearers – those who were students when the plans were made. But we at The Lawrentian think that the administration should have made more of an effort to communicate with current students regarding these plans.
There is a brighter side to this situation. Dean of Students Nancy Truesdell told this newspaper that student involvement in the planning process will recommence next month. This will include informational sessions with architects in which student input will be solicited, as well as extensive discussions with students on how to make the new center as environmentally sound as possible. The Lawrentian urges its readers to take full advantage of these opportunities. While the administration is responsible for making information available to students, it is the student’s responsibility to seek out and respond to such information.
When it comes down to the bare facts, the board of trustees wields the power in financial decisions such as this one, and often it is their money which funds such projects. The main power we as students have is in our own student organizations and LUCC. The trustees are not required to ask for our input at all, so when they do, it is up to us to make the most of it. Students should keep their eyes open next month as opportunities begin to arise for student involvement in this major campus project. In order to keep the voice of the student body heard, we must do our utmost to stay informed of and involved in administrative decisions. We owe that kind of engagement to ourselves as well as to future generations of Lawrentians.