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ASA to Assign Offices After Four-Year Delay

By Marissa Vogt

The Association of Student Activities plans to allocate office space this fall for the first time since the fall of 2001. Allocations were to take place in the fall of 2003 but were not completed.

In 2003, officers of student groups requesting space were required to complete a form, and the groups were assigned priority levels in the reallocation process, though they were not assigned to offices.

Applications for office space are due on Oct. 29, after which the ASA will assign groups to categories based on priority, said Michael Shaw ’07, ASA undergraduate member at large. The deadline is a firm one for student groups, though it has already been adjusted once by the ASA. The ASA originally wanted the deadline to be earlier in October but encountered technical difficulties with the online application.

Shaw said that he believes that it is fair for the ASA to hold student groups to a strict deadline. “In order for us to be fair to all groups, we have to have a hard deadline after which we can review applications,” he said.

Shaw admitted that the 48-question application “puts somewhat of a strain” on student group officers, but the allocations are “important enough to put in the necessary few hours.”

Because office space is a “limited resource” that is not automatically given to all student groups, the application is designed to get as much information as possible from groups, Shaw said.

The office space designated for student activities is under the supervision of the Office of the Dean for Student Life but is assigned to the ASA with the understanding that the space be reallocated with “some regularity,” said Director of Campus Activities Complex Phillip J. Walsh. He said that the CAC works with the ASA in terms of the physical condition of the offices but is not involved with the ASA’s policies on how often they review space or the criteria by which they assign offices.

Two factors that contributed to the cancellation of the 2003 allocations were miscommunication between the ASA and the CAC, and Student Center renovations that were planned but never carried through. In the fall of 2004, the ASA attributed its delays to renovations needed to create more student space, though Shaw said that the ASA currently has the same amount of space to allocate as it did four years ago.

Applications to be made public

Once the ASA receives space requests from student groups, they will assign the groups to different categories based on priority and whether or not the group currently has an office, Shaw said. Requests from groups that currently have office space are considered separately from requests by groups that do not have an office.

Shaw said that it is unlikely that subsets of these categories, such as groups without offices who had requested office space in the fall 2003 allocations, will receive special consideration. However, he said that those groups will likely have “good applications” because of their previous experience.

Groups that currently have office space are prioritized into the following categories: groups that will retain their current office or may gain space; groups that may lose some of their space, gain roommates, or change offices; and groups that will lose their office space. Groups that do not have space are divided into three categories based on priority.

Following prioritization but before final allocations are given, groups may appeal the ASA’s decision.

This year, groups’ applications will be made publicly available after appeals are completed, though the ASA operating guidelines do not specifically address the publication of responses, Shaw said. “It adds a degree of transparency to the whole process,” he said.

Shaw said that office space moves will happen in January, and that he expects the ASA to give out allocations in December before finals week.