Column: A waste of space

The board of trustees remains off campus

Maggie Curran, Opinion Editor

The College of DuPage board of trustees, at its bare minimum, exists to make the school a better place for students and staff. In order to accomplish this, the board members procured the Prairie Light Review office space in SSC 3251 and moved the literary magazine staff to SSC 1227, a room over 100 sq. feet smaller. This is fine, until one takes into account that the board of trustees has yet to utilize the space they stole.

It’s nearly November, and the board’s office has remained locked and untouched for the overwhelming majority of this semester. The 299 sq. foot space is dark and empty almost every day, with very few exceptions. Board Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton has office hours from 10 a.m. to noon every Monday, which is more than can be said for the remaining six members. And while the board has no real obligation to be on campus so frequently, it makes no sense why they would need an ideal office that is almost never utilized.

There’s nothing wrong with board members having an office at school. In fact, it’s a great idea. I wish the board spent more time in their office. I wish each member had set office hours, even if it is only for two hours per week like Hamilton. And I wish students and staff would visit their office, talk to the board, and make suggestions so that both parties would take an active role in improving COD. However, we don’t always get what we wish for.

As I said before, a board of trustees office space is a great idea, but only when used to its full potential. If board members don’t want to use the space, they shouldn’t have the space, especially when clubs and organizations such as the Prairie Light Review would receive far more benefit from it. What’s most irritating isn’t that the office is never used, it’s that it was taken from students who would appreciate it much more.

One can only wonder why the space is so often empty. Can board members simply not find the time to visit COD, or are they purposefully shirting this part of their duty to the school? It’s no secret that there is tension among board members. Are they attempting to avoid sharing a workspace with each other, or are they avoiding the possibility of confrontation from students, staff, and community members who would use their office hours to speak their minds?

No matter how it’s spun, the situation only brews frustration. While the Prairie Light Review is making do with the smaller, less ideal office they now have, it still isn’t fair to them to have their former office underutilized by its new tenants. It isn’t fair to students and staff that they cannot readily speak with their board of trustees, and it isn’t fair that the board implied they would be able to if members were provided an office on campus. Now, it’s up to the board to either use the space, or give it up for a more deserving organization. And they ought to choose wisely.