(Tom Alexander/MJ)
(Tom Alexander/MJ)

BY SAMANTHA ELLIOTT, Editor in Chief

Student life has always been a hard issue to deal with at the UM-Dearborn campus. Being a solely commuter school, engaging students in activities on campus can sometimes be quite challenging.

When activities planned to engage students in all locations of campus are met with roadblocks from within the University, it becomes a problem.

Recently the Student Activities Board (SAB) was forced, last minute, to change a location of an event.

The SAB Hot Chocolate Bar, held every Fall and Winter semester, was booked in the College of Arts, Science, and Letters (CASL) atrium, the same location it had taken place in during the Fall semester.

The event was scheduled to take place on January 24 and had been advertised so for weeks leading up to the event. On January 19, SAB Facilities Coordinator, Brad Ewert, received notification that the location of the event had to be changed.

Student Events Coordinator Aaron Sarver spoke to Ewert in person, allegedly informing Ewert that the reasoning was due to the loudness the event caused the previous semester, adding that the CASL Dean’s office requested the event be moved.

Ewert, wanting to investigate the situation himself, went to the CASL Dean’s office. There, he explained what had happened and the request to move the event. “I was told, ‘We don’t see why it would be an issue,’” Ewert said.

The CASL Dean’s office sent Ewert to a CASL reservation consultant who sent Ewert back to Sarver in the University Center, bringing the situation full circle.

Much to the disappointment of SAB Eboard members, the event was relocated to the University Center stage. The location had been used before by SAB, but they wanted to move this specific event to CASL because, “It was a convenience for people going to class,” said Ewert.

As the main organization designated to promote student life on campus, SAB was disappointed with the outcome of the situation.

“We as a student body want to promote inclusiveness and a sense of good student life on this campus, but sometimes it seems to be difficult to put on some of the events we want because of one reason or another,” Ewert said.

Student body President, David Knezek, also weighed in on the situation with reserving rooms.

Although Student Government (SG) has not come across any problems with booking rooms this year, they did have to relocate a few meetings.

“Each time, however, we were given a few days notice and the movement was to a different room within close proximity to the original,” Knezek said.

Although unfamiliar with SAB’s recent situation, Knezek says the disappointment of students trying to reserve rooms has been brought to his attention.

“What I have grown increasingly aware of is a number of students who visit my office with complaints about unprofessional treatment from fellow students when they attempt to reserve a room. Purposefully misleading or deceiving students on room availability or failing to respond to reasonable student inquiries and requests in a timely manner is, at the least, poor customer service,” Knezek said.

Knezek, along with his Director of Clubs and Organizations, Dennis Lienhardt, have given increasing student life on campus top priority this year.

“Each and every student group on this campus has the right to utilize available university space as long as they meet the necessary prerequisites … I refuse to work tirelessly on this issue to then have student groups receive substandard treatment. Something must be done to right this wrong,” Knezek said.

Both Sarver and Kathleen Herr, Director of the University Center, were reached out to for answers, but both declined to comment.