The debate over renovating Coffman Union’s second floor needs to stop. All students present at forums, including ones without space, spoke out in strong defense of our community. The Second Floor Advisory Committee cannot come up with a plan that works for everyone. Participation in the current renovation plan just pits student groups against each other. Groups who need space should actively work with the University of Minnesota to claim room elsewhere.
The rooms on the third floor of Coffman are never used all at once. The University should convert some of those rooms for student groups. The fourth floor of our student center isn’t even usable for students because of the Campus Club. SFAC isn’t allowed to consider any spaces other than the second floor of Coffman. Why not utilize more space on campus instead of limiting the committee? No matter how many walls are destroyed and moved, the square footage will be the same. While SFAC and the administration are moving forward with second floor renovations, the Office for Student Affairs claims to be looking for alternative spaces. Economically and politically, it’s wiser to pursue new spaces for student groups before spending student service fees to tear apart existing student centers.
The answer is not to take student groups of traditionally oppressed minority groups and further displace and diminish them. The second floor is special; it’s a community. There, they are acknowledged for their importance despite being oppressed in everyday society. Keep the cultural centers the same and make space elsewhere for the groups that want space.