TMC students get the shaft

    As Grace Pineda sat in her physics class, she wondered what smelled funny.

    “”Then I realized it was me — it was my shoes,”” said the Marshall sophomore.

    Indeed, Pineda had stepped in a pile of shit, except it was in the form of manure being used to help replant the grass outside of her apartment.

    UCSD has begun renovating the Thurgood Marshall College Lower Apartments while there are still students living in them.

    “”I wake up to people pounding on the roof and that beeping noise of trucks backing up, and then I can’t even study in my own room,”” Pineda said. “”Our unique view of passers-by and greenery has been replaced by dirt and noise.””

    To add to this inconvenience, this year’s construction of sophomore housing at Marshall comes on the heels of living through the construction of Pangea Parking Structure and the renovation of Ocean View Terrace last year.

    “”In ‘S’ building [in the Marshall Residence Halls, next to Pangea Parking Structure] last year, there was a big machine right outside of our window all the time,”” said Marshall sophomore Ashwin Chandra. “”It just kind of sucked, and even though they were doing it for the betterment of the school, they could have done it during summer.””

    It’s commendable that the university is trying to improve the living conditions at UCSD, but it shouldn’t do it while people are still living there.

    Should this year’s Marshall sophomores just call it all bad timing and forget about it? Forget about the fact that OVT was closed last year and La Casa, the “”substitute”” restaurant, was closed on weekends and only stayed open until 3:30 p.m. on Fridays? Forget that Marshall sophomores have to live through the renovation of the lowers so that next year’s residents will have nicer apartments? Forget that they’re the first class at UCSD to not have guaranteed second-year housing.

    Much like asking us to pay a fee referendum that goes toward the renovation of a Price Center that we may not be around to enjoy, it is too much to ask students to just suck it up and say, “”at least it’ll be nice next year.””

    How about some kind of compensation for having to deal with construction and for living without the facilities that other students normally have?

    Or how about at least toning down the construction during the school year to be fairer to students?

    Construction in the lowers usually lasts only a few hours. It could easily start at around 11 a.m. and still get the same amount done.

    Sophomore Danica Dodds expressed unhappiness with the school’s idea of being considerate of its residents.

    “”They told us last year that they would be nice during finals week, and start construction at 9 a.m. instead of the usual 8,”” she said. “”What happened to 24-hour quiet hours?””

    Maybe our school is too focused on building itself rather than building a good relationship with its students.

    UCSD is going to have new buildings, a sixth college, nicer dining halls and other aesthetically pleasing things, but at what cost? The new students being admitted to Sixth College mean that fewer second-year students than ever will live on campus next year.

    Many of the luxuries that make UCSD such a nice place to go to school — 15-minute passing periods, open space outside to enjoy, close-knit college communities — are disappearing as the school rapidly expands and admits more students.

    UCSD should make more efforts to connect with its students. The university does not have to renovate buildings to keep us happy; the time and money could be much better spent on providing better classes and more activities. It could even be something simple, such as later hours for the library, gym and activity centers.

    But instead of having a football team or a fun place to hang out at night, we get construction that will result in only moderately better facilities.

    When you wake up to pounding on your roof at 9 a.m. and then trod off to a 300-seat lecture hall, it’s hard to escape feeling like you’re just another member of the herd.

    “”It’s obvious that we as students are not the top priority of UCSD,”” said sophomore Cliff McEnery. He pointed out that the school is often involved in other endeavors that may be detrimental to students’ education.

    For example, many students theorize that the university wanted to finish OVT by summer 2001 to entice the San Diego Chargers into staying here for spring training.

    “”I find it very ironic that the school closed down OVT all of last year to keep the Chargers using UCSD for spring training, meanwhile leaving Marshall residents scurrying around for dining,”” McEnery said, “”and now the Chargers are leaving UCSD anyway.””

    Whether this rumor is true, students are feeling alienated for one reason or another. Coming to this school is a privilege, but that doesn’t mean that the university can act like we’re not paying thousands of dollars to be here.

    Maybe UCSD needs to pay more attention to getting its instructors better contracts instead of building new lecture halls. It should also be more considerate of the students that it already has before cramming in a few hundred more.

    Most kids can deal with an older lecture hall and can live without a state-of-the-art office building — what’s important in college is community.

    And that’s something you can’t grow with manure.

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