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Leah’s Lens: Nobody wants to give their all to App State

Leahs+Lens%3A+Nobody+wants+to+give+their+all+to+App+State
Kaitlyn Close

It is no secret that thousands of students are upset with App State, specifically Chancellor Sheri Everts, right now. Painting over the free expression tunnels — strike one. Lack of safety in Wey Hall — strike two. Moving art students to East Hall — a whopping strike three. One can only wonder what’s about to come next.

Over recent months, it has become increasingly more evident that Everts’s support of students and the university is conditional and is only prompted by where the money comes from. When it comes to a popular sport, Everts is all over it, consistently showing support. However, when it comes to things like art students and First Amendment rights, suddenly she is nowhere to be found. 

On March 21, an email was sent out telling art students that Wey Hall would be closed for the remainder of the week. This was because of safety issues within the building due to the ongoing construction. Many classes have since been moved to East Hall

The move to East Hall is irony at its finest, as the building also has its fair share of safety issues. There is no air conditioning and no real ventilation, and was determined to be unfit for living in 2022. 

Though nobody lives in the building anymore, many students still spend a large amount of time there on a weekly basis. Additionally, many of these students are painting in rooms with no ventilation, causing them to possibly be exposed to many harmful compounds that could result in health issues. 

A group of students protested the unsafe conditions on March 22 in front of the B.B. Dougherty Administration Building, doing their best to make their voices heard. It is unclear if Everts was even in Boone while this took place; after all, she may spend a decent amount of her time at the Hickory campus. A second protest took place on March 28, drawing in hundreds of students both participating and observing.

It is ridiculous that art students need to protest in the first place. There is no excuse for the blatant disregard of the department, nor is there an excuse for prioritizing the monetary aspects of the university. 

It should also be noted that Peacock Hall is set to be under construction as well, only in this case, it is an expansion of the building. It is not a coincidence that the business majors are the only major receiving an expansion to their space, even when countless other department buildings are in dire need of an update.

The time and attention being given to the renovation of the not-so-free expression tunnels could have easily been used to ensure that students are safe while in class and are not exposed to hazardous fumes. 

It is impossible to walk to any building on campus right now without seeing at least one construction site. It  also seems impossible to walk through campus without possibly breathing in at least one toxin. It should be a large enough red flag that those working on the tunnels are in full hazmat suits and face protection, yet students still have to walk directly through the construction to get to class. 

Some of the common pollutants one may be exposed to during construction are asbestos, flame retardants, silica and carbon monoxide. All of these are known to cause serious health issues, yet the university is allowing thousands of students to possibly be directly exposed on a daily basis. It can pretty much be guaranteed that administrators would never in a million years let football players be exposed to this, but other students? Not a problem. 

If one construction project could simply be finished before another one is started, these issues could be a lot easier to handle and a lot easier to avoid. Students could walk around campus without the fear of debris in their eyes, the fear of possible toxins in their lungs and overall discomfort and inconvenience.

The evidence that the university’s priorities are completely out of whack grows stronger by the day, causing more and more outrage from the student body. One can only wonder who will make the next move and what that move will be.

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About the Contributors
Leah Boone, Opinion Editor
Leah Boone (she/her/hers) is a junior chemistry major. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
Kaitlyn Close, Graphics Editor
Kaitlyn Close (she/her) is a senior Graphic Design major and Digital Marketing minor. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
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Comments (2)

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  • A

    Alastairmcgraw@gmail.comApr 2, 2024 at 8:28 am

    Good on you for speaking up against injustices and a university that does not prioritize its students over money and sports

    Reply
  • J

    Judith GearyApr 2, 2024 at 7:24 am

    The issues are more pervasive than even those in the article. According to a source in the physical plant (who shall remain nameless), when Walker Hall was built, they cut the HVAC system in half from the design, supposedly for “environmental” reasons. Since, the parts of the windows in offices that could be opened have been replaced with rigid panels. The levels of carbon dioxide that build up in the building are high enough to “affect intellectual functioning.” And, these issues aren’t being addressed.

    Reply