Students protest lack of late night access

A petition signed by 542 students for key card access to Lilly Hall has Jordan College of Fine Arts students hoping to get their foot in the door with Butler University’s top players.

“Students must be afforded the opportunity to access academic facilities at all times during their collegiate careers,” the petition stated. “The buildings and tools within these facilities are necessary to ameliorate a student’s academic life. Having proper access to these facilities is essential to the educational quality at Butler University.”

Students held a forum last Monday to inform other students of the petition, which was started by junior vocal music education major Katie Bolinger. It also provided an opportunity to sit down and talk to JCFA Dean Ronald Caltabiano.

Caltabiano faced a barrage of questions, ranging from the petition for modifications of JCFA curriculum to concerns about practice space availability. Having been at Butler for only five months, Caltabiano said he is very eager to hear from students about what is going on in the college, as well as to inform them of the administration’s view of the petition.

Key card access to Lilly Hall is important in the eyes of many students, considering the doors are locked at midnight, just recently moved back from 11 p.m. by Caltabiano, and often locked earlier.

“This year especially, more people have been locking the doors earlier and earlier, which is really frustrating,” Bolinger said. “I got [to Lilly] at 10 o’clock one night and it was locked, and I couldn’t practice.”

Sophomore ballet major Elizabeth Simoens said she shares Bolinger’s frustration, noting that most students can study anywhere, but for dance students, specialized rooms aren’t always available.

“We can’t study in our rooms or the library,” she said. “Not being able to get into the only rooms where we can practice makes life really difficult. People can write their essays at one in the morning, but if you need to compose music and you need a piano, you can’t do it any later than 11 p.m. if you can’t make it there in time.”

The petition is on the Student Government Association’s radar, as Council on Presidential Affairs  Chair Mike Tirman points out.

“I really think it puts music students at a disadvantage because so many instruments, like a piano, for example, cannot be carried back and forth from the dorm to the college,” he said.

“And the same holds true for Fairbanks as well. It puts students at a disadvantage because they need access to those facilities when their schedule permits.

“If all students feel this is an important matter for their education, I hope to see this on student government’s contribution list. This is one instance where students have come together to make a change on campus, and SGA wants to provide as much help as possible.”

The proposed change would come at a high cost. Even if the petition goes through, installing key card access to Lilly Hall will cost between $80,000 and $90,000 and won’t be installed until next summer at the earliest. At the moment, it is first on the list of buildings to receive key card access and second on the list of general facilities projects. Jordan Hall’s roof problems are first.

In the meantime, JCFA students said they are happy to see that their issue is being acknowledged by the university and hopeful for progress in the right direction.

To check out the petition, visit www.change.org and search for  “Lilly Hall key card access.”

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