Belmont started closing its buildings at 11 p.m. and on Sundays during the first two weeks of the semester, but that was a temporary measure.
The change, which mostly affected students in the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business and the College of Visual and Performing Arts, was a response to a Vision piece that showed that students could access sensitive areas of the university after hours.
That video has been taken down because it included student names, which are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
The story showed Vision editors accessing professors’ offices and private student information after hours.
“You can imagine that caught the attention of quite a few of the administrators and faculty at the university, so I was instructed to evaluate building access,” said university Provost Dr. Thomas Burns.
Burns took time over winter break to investigate those issues, and he decided to start off the semester by closing buildings by 11 p.m.. The changed hours only affected a few buildings, since many facilities closed before 11 p.m. to begin with, he said.
“We changed the operation hours in several buildings, but not in the majority of them. So Baskin didn’t change, Janet Ayers didn’t change, McWhorter, Inman, Massey, the library, the Beaman didn’t change,” Burns said. “We didn’t change it in all the spaces, only in spaces where there was specialized need,” Burns said.
Burns told the deans of each college about the modified hours and asked Curb College Dean Doug Howard and CVPA Dean Stephen Eaves to make recommendations for a schedule that would work well for students while still keeping buildings secure, he said.
“I don’t know how they chose to notify the faculty or students, but that was the initial attempt at the beginning of the semester,” he said. “And in my opinion, it was the position of the college deans to notify people. Would I send out an entire campus announcement if I decided the law library was closing early one day? I would not, because it only affects a small number of students.”
Though many students took to the Belmont University Student Community Facebook group to complain about the changes — citing the need to access facilities like the sound stage and the editing bays in the Johnson Center — Burns has only heard direct complaints from two students, he said.
“As far as I know, those are the only ones that have come to me,” he said. “And then there’s the Facebook posts. The Facebook posts are frustrating because that’s not the way you solve problems. That’s fine if you want to play on social media, but that’s not going to make things better. I can’t address that. I can tell you that most of the information on social media was false.”
Eaves gave Burns a proposal for CVPA building hours, which was then finalized and sent to faculty and students on Wednesday:
Updated schedule courtesy of CVPA Dean Stephen Eaves
“My guess would be by the end of this week we’ll have a proposal from the dean of Curb College and we’ll be able to modify hours appropriately,” Burns said.
Photo by Colby Crosby.