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‘They could have put that money into better things that would have been more useful as students dealt with COVID’: Administration opts to take down the South 40 tent

| Staff Reporter

The South 40 tent, designed to provide students a sheltered, well-ventilated work and dining space, has been taken down after being deemed unnecessary by administrators.

Curran Neenan | Student Life

According to Kawanna Leggett, interim associate vice chancellor and dean of students, the tent did not receive a high level of use.

“When the tent was put up, we were still uncertain of what student needs would be for the fall semester,” Legget wrote in a statement to Student Life. “As we are anticipating warmer weather, we feel the location can be better utilized as an outdoor gathering space.”

According to Leggett, the tent’s materials will either be repurposed or returned.

“The material is not being discarded,” Leggett wrote. “The workstations will be resold or donated to local organizations. Most of the HVAC equipment was rented and the lighting will be reused by the University.”

She added that information about the total cost of the tent is “not available.”

Shreya Patel, a freshman who used the tent, agrees that the tent was unnecessary, citing a lack of use.

“When BD was closed, I used to go there to eat my dinner sometimes, but I never saw a single other person in the tent. Ever,” Patel said.

However, Patel was still able to utilize the tent for unconventional purposes.

“I did go and scream in the tent a few times. I’m stressed and go in there and just let loose a little bit,” Patel said.

Freshman Justin Zhang, also failed to see the tent’s utility.

“It’s less desirable than just being in your dorm room. First of all, it’s not a lot of private space, and you’re not able to socialize with anyone, so there’s not really any specific point to going there,” Zhang said.

He also voiced concerns that the tent was kept in operation until now.

“It still has lights on, still has air conditioning, or whatever is going on in there, so there’s a lot of costs associated with just keeping it running that probably were not worth it in the long run,” Zhang said.

Zhang believes the money spent on the tent could have been used for purposes that better serve students.

“They probably should have consulted students before dumping money into this project, because I think the University… needs to focus its funds, its money, into areas that are definitely going to benefit students, for example the Mental Health Fund,” Zhang said.

Patel reinforced Zhang’s concern about funding, adding that students need extra resources amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think they could have put that money into better things that would have been more useful as students dealt with COVID,” Patel said.

Freshman Noah Vermes also attributes the tent’s inutility to a lack of communication between administration and students.

“I think that there’s just a general disconnect between what the administration sees as the issues that students here face and between the actual issues that students face,” Vermes said. “It’s frankly disheartening to see all that money go towards something that wasn’t very used.”

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