• Lillie Burke

White walls, blue professors

The new nursing and law buildings may be new, shiny and clean, but the older humanities building has one thing on them: personality.

In one trip down the English hall, I saw Ryan Gosling memes, a Lionel Richie picture asking if it was him you are looking for, stunning pictures of England and an impressive array of comic strips.

The teachers’ offices are no different, making advising appointments and meetings infinitely more entertaining when there is always something new to see when looking around.

My own adviser has a poster of “Pirates of the Caribbean” gracing the walls as well as one of the most diverse collections of books I have ever seen, with everything from books on pirates and classic American literature to Ben Franklin biographies and anthologies of mythology.

Needless to say, with a Johnny Depp poster or a framed picture of various kinds of trout watching over you, advising appointments don’t seem nearly as formidable as some may think.

It’s like my adviser cares that I’m comfortable, that I really go to a university with a student-centered mission.

However, students in this department, as well as the other schools that are moving into the new Wedgewood building, will not be able to enjoy this fascinating combination of the scholastic and the whimsical because of some rather befuddling new regulations.

In the new buildings, there are already rules of what can and cannot be hung on the walls of a teacher’s office, and on one hand, rules are good. It should probably go without saying that a professor should not have profane or inappropriate posters or signs in their office, but this goes beyond that.

Every single thing a teacher wants to hang has to be given a metaphorical stamp of approval.

Unfortunately, from what the overheard murmurs are implying, not much is making the cut, and the personality is slowly being sucked from the department and there is a definite threat of the humanities department seeming…sterile.

It is one thing for a classroom or a main hallway to have restrictions, but faculty members are having to jump through hoops just to hang up pictures that make them laugh. This is a place they have to spend many hours a week, grading papers, meeting students and answering emails, and they no longer have complete control over what fills the space.

As if that isn’t depressing enough, there is also a limit on the number of bookshelves being allowed in offices.

Let that sink in.

The sciences and the humanities are basically being told how many books they can have.

The decoration rulings may seem slightly absurd, but this is downright impossible. What is this world coming to, where scholars and teachers are being limited on how many tools of their trade they are allowed to have in their space?

I don’t know about you, but I’m almost intrigued to see how long it takes for an entire English department to go crazy without the myriad of books it is used to.

My money is on two weeks.

#newbuilding #HeatherThompsoncolumn #campusgrowth #WedgewoodAcademicCenter #heatherthompson #Humanities

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