Librarian responds to Spiritual Renewal Week closures

A couple years ago, our administration decided to shut down the campus during Spiritual Renewal Week (SRW) times. Their stated goal was to create time for staff to attend. Staff already can attend chapels of their choice given their supervisors’ approval. Chapel is also live online.

During SRW’s Monday chapel time:

  • Students were seated at Sunset Deck.
  • Students were seated outside Bobby B’s.
  • Students were seated inside Bobby B’s where they were conducting brisk business.
  • Students were seated in the Commuter Lounge.
  • Students were seated in the former Love Study area, now an art space.
  • Students were seated in the ARC
  • Students were seated in the Commons lobby.
  • Students were seated in the cafeteria.
  • Students were seated in the Cooper Music Center student lounge.
  • Students were seated outside the library.
  • Students were not seated in the library or computer labs.

Wednesday the same week the administration closed the cafeteria and Bobby B’s. A Sodexo employee stood at the Caf’s closed doors trying to explain to students why they could not use their meal plan. Commuter students in their lounge told me they were hungry. This was not due to students’ poor time management. Across campus, student employees scheduled to work that time lost minimum wage income. Elsewhere, faculty met with students.

Our neighbors were negatively impacted. Consider the 80+ year old woman who uses the campus copier and campus postal services. During SRW, she walked up Lomaland Drive hill only to be told these services were not available. Not the best public relations between the campus and the neighborhood.

Perhaps it is time to evaluate the decision. Judging from these observations, if we think shutting down the campus is in our favor, we are lying to ourselves. Highly ironic behavior given it takes place during Spiritual Renewal Week.


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