ICSR not wanting to move during WKU DUC renovations

Originally built in 1970 at a cost of $4.1 million, Downing University Center will be renovated beginning in March at a cost of $49 million.

Taylor Harrison

Many organizations have to relocate during the Downing University Center’s renovations, but not all of them are happy about it.

The Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility does not feel that their proposed new location is comparable to their current space in Garrett Conference Center.

Rebecca Katz, a student worker for ICSR, said they have been offered a place in the basement of Cravens Library.

The main problem is that the space in Cravens consists of offices rather than the large, open space they currently have. That public space is important because many organizations regularly meet there, students can come and go and the classrooms in ICSR are used for courses.

Events put on by ICSR, such as Wii the People Bowling League, depend on space. This event allows organizations to come together to talk about issues while playing Wii bowling. The public space is also good because students can spend time there.

“Our program will be greatly diminished if we lose our space,” Katz said.

Another problem ICSR has with the move is the process by which it was done — the process was not transparent, and they believe they weren’t given an option.

“For us, it was more of the nature of how it all came about,” said Lindsey Ardrey, a graduate student who works at ICSR. “We were just kind of pushed to the side.”

Katz said she’s been trying to cultivate the space since she was a freshman.

“It feels like the university hasn’t taken anything I’ve done into consideration.”

Despite this, Katz said she realizes the university probably didn’t set out to hurt the ICSR program.

Katz also said she feels like this shows that working toward a better society, which is what ICSR does, doesn’t mean as much as anything else. Katz felt like the program was just thrown around and that no one program should be valued more than another.

Katz’s favorite part of the current space is the whiteboards that are all around the room. People who come in and out of the common area will leave notes or ideas for others to see and build on.

“It shows people’s minds working,” Katz said.

The ICSR room was renovated using Academic Affairs money — which cost about $150,000. It would have to be renovated again for the people coming in to the space, then renovated once more when ICSR gets the space back two years later. Katz said this was not fiscally responsible.

ShéRohn Draper, another graduate student working at ICSR, said he doesn’t believe ICSR would actually get the space back after two years.

ICSR held a meeting which members of the Student Government Association also attended. At the meeting, SGA expressed their intent to support ICSR.

When the SGA office has to move out of DUC, they could possibly be taking over ICSR’s space along with the rest of Student Activities. SGA President Billy Stephens said he doesn’t want to take ICSR’s space, but it’s not SGA’s choice where they will go. He also said he wishes he had known earlier where they’d be moving when they have to leave DUC.

“The way I look at it, this is from me personally, I would not want ICSR to come in and take SGA’s spot,” Stephens said. “I mean, it’s their spot — I totally understand why they’re upset.”

Katz said ICSR’s current plan of action started with that meeting. The second step they are taking is asking students to email President Gary Ransdell and the Board of Regents members showing support for ICSR.

There will also be a meeting with Ransdell on Friday at 4 p.m. Student delegates will attend the meeting, possibly including SGA members.

While ICSR is hoping this will be the final step, if the meeting does not solve their problem, they will start reaching out to the community for support.