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October 20, 2014
Ithaca, NY 52°F | Clouds

Opinion

Commentary: Decision to close TC Lounge makes sense for the college

I’m OK with the TC Lounge closing. There, I said it. And I can guess what the response to this commentary will be.

Many students say, “It’s our right to have the TC Lounge” and that major decisions should have student input. But Ithaca College would not be where it is today if every decision was put to a student vote. At student meetings, emotions, over facts and analysis, often take center stage. Administration and faculty have to make certain decisions. They have far more information and analysis at their disposal to make necessary plans to run the college.

Within hours of the Intercom announcement about the closing of the TC Lounge, the Student Government Association rushed to put together a flawed survey with leading questions such as “What suggestions do you have to increase visibility and profitability of the TC Lounge to persuade IC administration to keep it open?” The SGA was pushing an agenda when asking for responses. For example, one of the SGA’s Facebook posts promoting the survey said only that the lounge was going to be closed — it didn’t include reasons for the change. In the following hours, the SGA publicized many of the responses in favor of saving the lounge, rather than any arguments against it.

Students and staff should work to modify an existing space to replace the TC Lounge, which currently serves as an area to hang out, study and attend Open Mic Nights. For example, the lounges on the main floor of the Campus Center may serve as a new home. With the catering facilities already in the building, it wouldn’t be a stretch to bring back the food options that the TC Lounge currently offers. IC Square is event-ready for Open Mic Nights that would become more accessible to more people on campus, as it is more centrally located. Imagine if the college worked to make IC Square a perfect place to study, hang out and grab a bite. More dinner and dessert options in addition to what the TC Lounge currently offers would make it a perfect late-night dining option.

In reality, there are very few other existing spaces large enough to hold an entire department. The administration has made it clear that departments housed in one area rather than spread across campus is vital for communication. The TC Lounge, while a great facility, was a non-essential space that happens to be the only place large enough to accommodate the college’s office needs.

After the decision was made to close the TC Lounge, I have only one issue — how the change was presented to the college community. The fact that it was hidden in an Intercom article was foolish. This is harmful and must be avoided in the future because, as young adults, we expect that we will be given information directly.
I appreciate that we have passionate students who care about the college’s choice to close the TC Lounge. This is not the first time there has been a troubling announcement about a major change on campus. I hope the college will learn to be more transparent, and I hope we as students can step back and think about why decisions are made before we fight them.