Letter: Faculty need more places to commune


William Sturkey (History) argued in a recent Letter to the Editor on Aug. 25 that restricting student access to Anne Queen Commons in the Campus Y was “a gross example of faculty elitism and privilege,” running counter to the recently-established “Guiding Principles” of the College. Indeed. 

But Prof. Sturkey also declares that we now “arrogantly strut” into that room — just a few feet from the new student-run coffee shop, Meantime. He suggests that we should just use our offices. But it occurred to me, does any UNC faculty member ever arrogantly strut anywhere on campus these days? Faculty arrogant strutting  has perhaps gone the way of faculty clubs, dining rooms, parking, family tuition benefits, sabbaticals and so on. In my experience, maybe worriedly scurry; or exhaustedly plod; or hastily trot; or peripatetically engage with students. While I would agree that the mysterious and uninviting key-card access on the Anne Queen room is out of place and will discourage faculty as well as student access — it should be removed — I think that in general faculty members need someplace to meet outside of their department buildings and offices. 

As departmental duties have become increasingly administrative on the one hand, and teaching-centered on the other; and as interdepartmental and interdisciplinary interaction has become increasingly programmatic and structured, there are remarkably few contexts or spaces on campus for communal dining and unstructured, random and informal discussion and social interaction, which are vital to maintaining a dynamic intellectual and scholarly community.  

Prof. Donald Haggis

Department of Classics

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