In a disastrous email entitled “SCC review and space allocation,” Brandeis’ Department of Student Engagement (DSE) has kicked numerous clubs out of their spaces in the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC). Unfortunately, as a non-secured club, The Brandeis Hoot was unlucky enough to receive this email. If you’re a club leader, a club member or even just a member of the Brandeis community, this should concern you. It certainly concerns all of us here at The Hoot.
The Brandeis Media Coalition, or the BMC as we affectionately call it, is our home. We keep years upon years of archives in this room. We have issues of The Hoot going all the way back to 2005 in our filing cabinets, mixed in with an unbelievable amount of Hoot stickers. We also have family trees and copies of our paper plastered all over the walls, in affectionate correspondence with Gravity Magazine (a frenemy we have had the pleasure of sharing the BMC with for years). In addition to these sentimental artifacts, of which there are plenty, we also have thousands of dollars’ worth of technology that we rely on to produce the paper you’re reading each and every week. We need this room to function as your community newspaper, and the life that we’ve instilled into this room with our janky decorations has made us all attached to it in ways that we can’t put into words. The late nights we spend here, obsessing over spelling mistakes and color-corrections are core to The Hoot’s identity.
But that’s all going away on May 30. On that day, “non-secured clubs, including The Brandeis Hoot will no longer be granted dedicated office space in the SCC and instead will be able to utilize shared student organization space.” That means that we’ll be losing access to the room we’ve poured our love into, and lose access to the safety that it provides for our technology. The Hoot and our lovely roommates, Laurel Moon and Gravity Magazine, will be kicked out of the space that has been guaranteed to us for years.
The DSE notes that this decision was made as a result of a space review conducted on the SCC, and that “These updates will result in improved spaces for the use of more organizations.” But, by denying student organizations like The Hoot a dedicated office space, the DSE is stripping The Hoot of a home we’ve grown attached to and security for the technology we need to produce a paper each week, and is doing so in the name of the common good.
When The Hoot and other clubs that rely on having a dedicated home on campus are removed from those homes, it becomes much harder for us to function. Sentimental value of the BMC aside, having a secure spot to store our technology and a dedicated space to work diligently each week to create a newspaper is necessary for The Hoot to function as it does.
We understand that not every club has access to a secured space on campus, and the move to having no chartered club having a secured space in the SCC is meant to be a move of equality. We sometimes take for granted having a space we can go to that not every club has. However, not every club has the same needs. Mountain Climbing Club needs a room to store their equipment, Ballet Club needs a place to keep their costumes. Just the same, campus media publications need a space to publish their work. Not just us at The Hoot, but Gravity and Laurel Moon too. It’s not as simple as renting out a space for us because we do have computers that we’ve used our student union allocated money for. It’s also not that simple when we stay up past midnight ti publish every week and the security of having a space that locks on campus is paramount.
The idea that DSE has proposed is great in theory. To make clubs equal across the board and give them the same resources is a great idea. However, when put into effect it is not that simple. This move by the DSE puts The Hoot’s future ability to complete production in jeopardy, and will strip us of the room we rely on for secure storage, productivity and a feeling of home.