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The Rubicon

[STAFF EDITORIAL] Schilling Center guidelines lack clarity

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[STAFF EDITORIAL] Schilling Center guidelines lack clarity

Editorial Cartoon: Quinn Christensen

Editorial Cartoon: Quinn Christensen

Editorial Cartoon: Quinn Christensen

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School is not a playground. But fun and learning can coexist in the same building. The opening of the new Hugh K. Schilling Center gave students access to new tools and spaces. Right away, students acclimated to the new facilities and began exploring their possibilities.

Problems eventually arose because of a lack of direct communication between the administration and students in determining how these new spaces and tools are used. Many expectations involving the Schilling Center were unclear: Can the blinds be closed? Can the doors be closed? What can the SMART Boards be used for? What places are for socializing or studying? Oftentimes the administration expected one thing, and the students expected something different, which resulted in frustration for both parties.

A prominent example of this disparity is the new abundance of SMART Boards in the Schilling Center. The school chose to spend a significant amount of money on SMART Boards for the common areas, but they are currently being used solely as glorified whiteboards. As it stands right now, the administration’s solution is strict guidelines outlining a very limited use of the SMART Boards. The part of the Student Handbook the administration will point to, in this case, is the “Technology Acceptable Use Guidelines.” The problem with this policy is not the text itself, but with the implementation and execution of the policies listed. When the administration presumes that students are violating a policy, there is no dialogue, no conversation about what it means to use technology in an engaging and educational way.

At the time of writing, the handbook does not include explicit policies for the use of space in the Schilling Center. ”

The expectations have not been clear and student input has not been considered, and as a result, many students have mixed feelings concerning these SMART Boards. Many of the things students have been doing that does not align with the current policies (e.g. playing video games) results from a lack of clear expectations. There exists a middle ground where students have freedom while respecting the values of the school. The same could be said for the execution of the “Common Areas” policy in the Student Handbook.

At the time of writing, the handbook does not include explicit policies for the use of space in the Schilling Center. It includes policies for other spaces in the school, such as the library, but there is nothing concerning the new common spaces. The balance between social and study spaces has not yet been reached.  Quiet places to study were scarce before the arrival of the Schilling Center. However, now there exists ample space for both quiet and social areas. That means that this is the ideal opportunity for students and administrators to work together and find a middle ground they are both content with and confident in.

In the past, there was a time for an updated dress code. After that, the need for an updated electronics policy was met. Now, at the point of monumental change to the structure of the building, the time has come for the administration to review the “Common Areas” and “Technology Acceptable Use Guidelines.” sections of the handbook taking into account student voice. There are a couple ways to make this happen. USC could hold a forum where students advocate for what they expect from the new spaces. Additionally, the newly founded Student Technology Committee could hold an equivalent discussion to discuss appropriate use of the new SMART Boards.

This editorial was originally published in the September 2018 issue of The Rubicon.

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