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PSGA and Administration Address Student Concerns on Stood Renovation Plans

By Thomas Dachik 


A side-by-side comparison shows the current stood murals (left) vs. A proposed chalkboard for students to write on (right) (Left photo by Thomas Dachik, right photo via PSGA Instagram) 


Emphatic emotion and heated conversation highlighted Purchase’s Student Center Town Hall Thursday, as members from the Purchase Student Government Association (PSGA) met with administrators to address concerns about the new renovation plans. 


Panel members included members of PSGA, Purchase College Administration, and the Student Activities Board (SAB). The conversations were guided by questions read aloud by PSGA chair of Senate Sophia Pallozzi. These questions were read on behalf of students who had previously raised their concerns. 



Members of PSGA and administration congregate prior to Thursday’s Town Hall (Photo by Thomas Dachik) 


One of the more significant parts of the construction plan proposed by the school’s facilities department is to reinforce the walls with drywall. Though, this would in turn cover some of the artwork done by the students. PSGA responded to these student concerns in a letter posted on their Instagram page. The letter also details that their primary concern is the status of the walls due to the old, damaged drywall. 


“The primary goal is to reinforce them with stronger material,” PSGA wrote, “as the drywall has been damaged multiple times, which is costly for the PSGA to repeatedly fix, not solely to paint them.” 


This is in response to some students’ fear of having their artwork covered and made nonvisible. Pallozzi described Purchase as being “unique” in the arts, and questions regarding the wall murals seemed especially significant to PSGA president Me’ilani Nelson, who is an artist themself. Nelson mentions that their art has been sprayed over with graffiti before, and that she advocates for the value of the murals along with other student artists who would potentially have their work covered. 


“As an artist, it hurts to see our art [covered],” Nelson said.  


Panel members of Tuesday’s Town Hall include representatives from PSGA, the Student Activities Board (SAB), Facilities, as well as President Milagros Pena and Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Bice (Photo by Thomas Dachik) 


One message that was unclear amongst some students was the rationale for the wall renovations, as some students, like senior Mariam Traore, believed it could have been to make the walls more appropriate to outside visitors, to which Traore feels takes away from the ownership that the students have in their own space. 


“I don’t want it to feel like the students are a guest in their own space,” Traore said. “I don’t want us to feel restricted.” 


Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Bice confirmed the stood was in fact rented out by the Summer Youth Arts Program last summer due to the Visual Arts building being reconstructed. Though, she feels accommodations like that work nicely due to their relationship with the students. 


“I feel we have a good working relationship with the stood student staff workers,” Bice said. 


Bice is unaware of any concerns regarding the stood at this time that were not shared in the town hall, though she, like Traore, want the students to feel like the priority in their space. 


“We want the students to feel like they have ownership,” Bice said. 


The student murals also extend into the bathrooms, where there are also plans by facilities to paint the walls, which has been a long-lasting controversy among Purchase students. Director of Facilities and Vice President of Administration Mike Kopas acknowledges this when detailing the department’s plans for the bathrooms.  


“There has been hesitance in the past, so we are conscious of that,” Kopas said. “We are walking a very fine line of keeping the personality of the building while also making the necessary repairs.” 


Pallozzi feels the lack of senate members is a key issue regarding their advocacy for students’ concerns on these renovation plans. The Student Senate is the primary legislative body within PSGA, representing and advocating on behalf of the entire student body. Though according to Pallozzi, they cannot do their job without an abundance of voices. 


“The lack of senators can result in weaker advocacy for problems that students face,” Pallozzi said. “Fewer senators means fewer voices to speak up.” 


PSGA, Administration, and facilities will continue to discuss a timeline for these changes in numerous meetings throughout the remainder of the semester. To help ensure that students have their voices heard, all PSGA representatives have office hours posted outside their office in Campus Center North (CNN), open for students to ask in-person questions, or raise concerns. 

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