Students recently learned that CVPA studios will only be open to students on Weekdays from 8am to 8pm. We are signing this petition to ask that UMass Dartmouth expand that studio access to Saturday and Sunday for at least 12 hours each day.
Though the reason for this semester's limited access is attributed to restrictions around COVID, condensing studio access is counterproductive to ensuring student health and safety. Many students will be forced to cram studio work into a few evening hours every weeknight, which will make studios and buildings more crowded than in previous semesters. Over and over we have received emails stating that UMass Dartmouth's top priority is the safety and health of its community members. Saturday and Sunday studio access will help to distribute student presence in the building, contributing to a safer and more sanitary environment for students, faculty, and staff, making it a no-brainer.
In addition to these safety concerns, weekend studio access is crucial to student success. Many of us enrolled in multiple studio classes can not possibly meet outside studio time requirements under the current building schedules. Our remote and in-person/blended classes are generally scheduled between 8am and 8pm, meaning that many of us will have days with only a few hours to do work outside of class. This time will be constricted further by transportation between the two CVPA buildings, attending faculty office hours, and having to leave the buildings for meals. As it stands, many of us will have to do our school work 12 straight hours a day, 5 days every week. This assumes that studios will be available to students when they are able to fit in studio time, however with the new capacity restrictions for studios, students may not be able to use them even during the limited hours.
On top of these academic concerns, the many students who work part-time jobs depend on the flexibility of studio access, and this semester's changes will directly affect their livelihood, academic success, and mental health. Those of us who rely on on-campus work-study income will be in the precarious position of choosing between working on-campus during building hours, or getting our coursework done. This will only serve to exacerbate widespread financial hardship and diminish the quality of academic work we can produce.
Though we have lost countless amenities at UMassD this semester, CVPA students are paying regular tuition and high "special course fees" to take studio courses. The very least we deserve is sufficient studio access to succeed in our courses, and flexible enough access to take care of ourselves during this difficult semester.
We ask that UMass Dartmouth make our wellbeing and success a priority by expanding our studio access to Saturdays and Sundays for at least 12 hours a day.