Some recent changes made to the hours students can access the Media Arts Center [MAC] have upset some of the students who frequently use the building.
The door access codes for some of the labs and rooms in the MAC have been changed, which further restricts the time students can access the rooms.
Students, especially graphic design majors, say that due to their substantial workload they should have unlimited access to these labs.
The doors, which were sometimes left open, have now been locked outside of the 100 lab hours a week. Students say this doesn’t allow them enough time to finish their assignments.
Graphic design and film production majors agreed that by locking these doors the school is denying them the time they need to finish all of their assignments on programs they don’t otherwise have access to.
While this change was made to align lab access with the building hours, some of the students who need the lab to do work are not happy.
Senior Sarah Defreitas said she is not happy with the way the MAC lab has operated over the last two years.
She said she is a film production major and uses the lab for some of the materials and computer programs.
She noted that the restriction of hours has been a problem before.
Defreitas said, “Every semester it becomes harder to get into the buildings we need to.”
She said she wasn’t always notified when the codes or hours would be changed and would occasionally have to contact campus safety in order to get into the places she needed to be.
Defreitas noted there wasn’t always a pattern to the changes.
She said, “There would be times where the door codes would just change on me out of nowhere.”
Some students believe this is a problem bigger than just the room codes.
Graphic design major Jill Tague felt that there was “a lack of support from the dean.”
Tague calculated that many graphic design majors have more than 80 hours of work a week: 15 hours at internships, 15 hours of class (assuming they are in four classes), 10 hours of freelance work required for a capstone class, 15 hours of non graphic design homework and 30 hours minimum of graphic design homework, resulting in about 86 hours of work each week.
Due to the amount of work, some students had been going into the lab during the hours that it is technically closed to complete outstanding projects.
Tague said she felt the reason for going against regulation was purely for work purposes.
She said, “It’s very disappointing when the dean and the board [of directors] don’t see us as a serious group of seniors, they just see us as breaking in and being rebellious.”
She explained that it is important that the graphic design majors have the extra time in the lab together because of the size of Tague’s capstone class.
“We have to be together every day because our capstone class, which is called portfolio, is nineteen people while an average class is fourteen. We have to rely on each other to critique our work because during class and after class we don’t get enough time with our professors,” she explained.
She expressed disappointment that some of the materials, such as computer programs they need for class, are expensive and not provided, as she said that budgeting should account for at least some of the materials, especially for printing class.
Graphic design major Collin Middleton agreed with Tague. Middleton said he works 19-hour days between class and two jobs, which leaves him little extra time.
He said, “The lab is only open for one-hundred hours a week, so whenever I can make it there while it’s open I take full advantage. But it’s really not nearly enough.”
He said he felt the recent changes in how the faculty was treating graphic design students were unfair.
“The school is prohibiting me from using the only consistent and reliable resource I am provided with as a graphic design major,” he said.
Middleton stated he believed the reduction in student access to the lab after hours was “just another way to deny us longer hours in order to save money by cutting back on the amount of time the building is open and the amount of staff on hand while the building is open.”
He said he didn’t want less work from class, just more time to do it. He explained, “We most definitely do not want less work. The amount we have right now is at least somewhat realistic in regards to what we will experience in the professional world.”
Middleton praised the job his professors have done preparing them for post-graduation life.
However, he said he wanted the administration to “stop penalizing their most driven and dedicated students for attempting to meet industry standards.”
Dave Padrazo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org