At the School Leadership Team (SLT) meeting on Tuesday, October 27, Student Union (SU) members asked the administration to keep the SU lounge open all day. Currently, the SU is open a few periods a day and after school when English teacher Jonathan Weil or Coordinator of Student Affairs Lisa Weinwurm are available to supervise.
The Big Sibs, Arista and The Spectator offices, which are located inside the SU area, would remain locked under the SU’s proposal.
The Spectator originally proposed the idea in a staff editorial written in its April 18th 2008 issue. The SU discussed the proposal at an Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, October 22.
The SU is exploring the possibility of taking the office’s doors off their hinges or just propping them open all day.
According to Griffin, having the SU open all day would create “more of a sense of community surrounding the SU” and it would be way for students to become “more aware of what’s going on in terms of the SU.”
“Because of the limited hours its open, students are turned off by the [SU] because they come and it’s closed,” she said.
Griffin said keeping the SU lounge open is important because “so many floors are being closed off” and “student space is being limited.” This year, students are only permitted to congregate on the first, second and fifth floors.
SLT members debated the proposal. United Federation of Teachers Representative Ellen Schweitzer said the SU’s proposal “doesn’t seem like much of a big deal.”
“It’s space, they’re kids, let them go,” she said at the SLT meeting.
Principal Stanley Teitel was concerned that the space would be unwelcoming to underclassmen due to its proximity to the senior bar and the mostly upperclassmen members of the SU. He was also worried about being able to find proper supervision for the space.
Teitel said that students in other schools are not even allowed to stay in the hallways when the bell rings. He would support using the theatre as a study hall to create an additional area for students to use during frees.
Although Parents’ Association Co-President Paula de Kock would like to see the SU area used to house the College Office, she sides with the students. “It’s their space,” she said at the SLT meeting. “If they’re willing to take off the doors, then why not?”
“The SU office, if the doors are open, is just as enclosed as the staircase or the first floor,” Griffin said. “Students are allowed to be there all day. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to be in the SU?”
Dean Robert Rosen disagreed at the SLT meeting. “Even with the doors off, it is very secluded,” he said. He discussed how he found students partaking in activities that are “inappropriate for school” when the SU was open in the past.
Junior and SLT representative Brianna Last countered. “Security guards roam the area all the time,” she said, adding that there were many unsupervised areas in the school.
Assistant Principal English Eric Grossman said it’s “unfair” “to have the space sitting empty all day.”
“I’d like to see us have the courage to do something valuable with it,” he said.