The Maroon

Commuter students frustrated over loss of designated space

Commuter+student+Ilyes+Bensilmane+gets+out+of+his+car+at+the+West+Road+Garage.+Commuters+have+lost+their+designated+study+space+in+The+Hub.+Photo+credit%3A+Alliciyia+George
Commuter student Ilyes Bensilmane gets out of his car at the West Road Garage. Commuters have lost their designated study space in The Hub. Photo credit: Alliciyia George

Commuter student Ilyes Bensilmane gets out of his car at the West Road Garage. Commuters have lost their designated study space in The Hub. Photo credit: Alliciyia George

Commuter student Ilyes Bensilmane gets out of his car at the West Road Garage. Commuters have lost their designated study space in The Hub. Photo credit: Alliciyia George

Erin Snodgrass

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As Loyola’s commuter students returned to campus this semester, they expected to be able to claim “The Hub,” located in the basement of the Danna Student Center, as their regular place to hang out.

Instead, they found the Student Government Association had moved its offices to that location. Satchmo’s Lounge has replaced The Hub as the designated commuter space, but according to some disgruntled commuters, there was no discussion with them before or after the decision was made.

Ilyes Benslimane, physics pre-health senior, said commuter students were approached earlier in the semester by someone they thought was a member of SGA. The commuters were confused when they were asked to leave The Hub and were told the space no longer belonged to them.

“There was no consultation with the commuters before the switch because we would have said no,” Benslimane said.

Ellie Diaz, SGA president, stressed The Hub is an open spot for all organizations and clubs to request support and resources from SGA, including the Commuter Student Association. She said SGA Vice President Gabrielle Henry reached out to the Commuter Student Association in late September about the move and received no response.

Brianna McMorris, Commuter Student Association president, said SGA did contact her, but that at that point “everything with the commuter students had kind of settled down.”

Other commuters, however, continue to have complaints about moving to Satchmo’s. One is that they are constantly kicked out of the area despite it being the commuter spot. Satchmo’s also serves as an event space and performance venue, and any student or faculty member can reserve the room for their event. For example, sororities conducted recruitment week activities in the lounge, and commuter students said they were forced to leave.

“In Satchmo’s, there is no understanding that this is the commuter lounge,” Johnston said.

Courtney Williams, associate director of student involvement, said he has heard mixed reactions from commuter students about Satchmo’s being reserved for other events.

“If an event is happening in Satchmo’s, students may choose to attend or spend time anywhere else on campus,” Williams said.

In addition to losing the room to events, commuters have other grievances with the new designated commuter space. According to them, commuters had access to storage space in The Hub, but in Satchmo’s, many have resorted to hiding their things when they leave
the room.

Some commuters also claimed they were approached last semester and asked for their suggestions on how to better The Hub.

“We thought they were rebranding the place for us,” Benslimane said. “It was kind of a slap in the face that they were fixing the place up after we had complained only because we were leaving.”

Liz Johnston, English writing sophomore, expressed her disappointment at the loss of The Hub and said the Commuter Student Association spent a considerable amount of time working to make the area feel like a welcoming home for its students. Many commuters credit The Hub with providing an inviting space where they formed friendships with fellow students living off-campus.

Dionne Bowers, criminal justice senior, wishes the situation was different for her final year on campus.

“We have no control, no say over the decisions made in Satchmo’s, but we did in The Hub,” Bowers said. “If we had any space where commuters could say ‘this is the commuter space,’ I would not mind at all. That would make us feel like we were part of the pack.”

Diaz said she hopes to improve transparency on campus and expressed her desire to help fix any problems with unhappy commuters. She said the move of SGA offices into The Hub was to make SGA more accessible, inviting and visible to students.

“In previous years, the credibility and presence of SGA has been a complaint of our student body,” Diaz said. “Utilizing The Hub for senate meetings, along with programming and finance meetings, makes the space more welcoming to anyone who is potentially walking by to see their SGA hard at work.”

However, commuter students continue to express their disappointment in losing the designated commuter space. They argue that, as commuters, it’s already hard enough trying to immerse themselves in campus life.

“We want to be able to relax and just have a place to hang out,” Bowers said.

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Erin Snodgrass, Managing Editor for Electronic Proporties

Erin Snodgrass is a Mass Communication sophomore. She is incredibly excited to be the Managing Editor for Electronic Properties this semester. She has...

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