Many students have observed that Garland Hall has been quiet this semester. Given the Sit-In protests that culminated in the arrests of three community members and four students on May 8, the apparent calm has raised questions from students about the future of the sit-in, as well as Garland Hall and the student services it formerly housed.
On May 3, the Student Government Association (SGA) sent an email to the student body describing the relocation of several services from Garland to other locations on campus.
“As you may know, Garland Hall is currently closed. As a result, all student services contained in Garland Hall have been relocated to other locations on campus,” the email read.
Four months later the student service offices that have left the building are not set to return for this academic year. Certain administrative offices remain inside the building, and a security guard is staffed at the front of the building during weekday business hours.
The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Office now has its logo imprinted onto the door of the room it occupies in the Wyman Park Building, and new offices have been set up for the advisors.
Some students have responded negatively to the relocations, underscoring the inconvenience of the decentralization of critical student services.
Sophomore Timothy Carlson said that having student services based in Wyman Park Building has been inconvenient.
“It’s too far,” sophomore Carlson said. “We need to reopen Garland as soon as possible.”
This new setup draws stark comparison from the advising setup last May, where advisors were forced to share a large open room.
The relocation of Garland services was initially prompted by the escalation of the private police sit-in that began last April, when student and community activists occupied Garland Hall for over a month to protest a proposed private police force.
After further escalation, Garland Hall was shut down and student services were relocated. While the sit-in came to a close, students and community members gathered for smaller protests over the summer.
Since then, protests have abated, but student services have not moved back to Garland Hall.
Student services that have relocated to other parts of campus include the Registrar’s office, now located in Wyman 2 West; the J-Card office in Wyman 171; the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Office in Wyman 170AA; Student Disability Services in Shaffer 103; and Pre-Professional Advising in Shriver 30.
Sophomore David Calvo argued that the lack of clarity surrounding exactly where offices have moved has compounded the inconvenience.
“It’s frustrating because I have to go to multiple places before I end up finding the service that I wanted. It’s no longer in one centralized place,” Calvo said. “What’s the deal with that?”
Participants of the sit-in have also criticized the administration’s decision to remove student services from Garland, citing a lack of transparency to the student body in an email to The News-Letter.
“We would have preferred that this was a decision made by the campus community through a transparent process of engagement with the university administration,“ they wrote.
The Sit-In specifically argued that the University was failing to take into account the needs of students when administrators made the decision to relocate several of the student service offices.
“[We] would have preferred the administration seek the advice of Advocates for Disability Awareness, as we believe the university should be a space of shared institutional governance,” the email read.
SGA informed The News-Letter that it is not aware of why services have not moved back to Garland Hall. SGA is also unsure as to whether the new locations are permanent.
However, the website detailing changes to Garland student service locations states that such changes will be in effect for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year.
It appears that students will have to get accustomed to the trek to the Wyman Park Building in order to access most student services for the foreseeable future.