In response to calls for expanded access to the lower Goodrich dance studio, a group of students, both affiliated and unaffiliated with the dance department, have crafted a proposal in conjunction with College Council (CC) outlining a new access system for the studio.
The system proposed would require students to exchange their ID cards at Campus Safety & Security for a key to the studio, allowing students to use the space during hours when the space is not formally reserved. Thus far, the proposal has been discussed among CC members but has not yet been presented to the dance department.
“Those in attendance at the CC meeting indicated a clear support … citing that most people don’t even know [the studio] can be used,” said Emanuel Yekutiel ’11, a CC class representative who was involved in crafting the proposal.
Currently, priority in reserving the studio is given first to dance courses, then to dance department guest performances, then wellness classes, followed by department-affiliated dance companies, College teams and lastly to individual students and student groups unaffiliated with the dance department.
‘This prioritization system means that the studio cannot be reserved through the online room reservation system. Instead, students who wish to use the space must contact Mary Pfister, the dance department production manager. According to Pfister, the system operates in this manner because the studio belongs to the dance department and the department cannot monitor the space without employing someone to stay in or at the very least frequent Goodrich over the course of the day. Pfister added that loosening the studio’s reservation restrictions would jeopardize the department’s ability to ensure the studio is being used properly and in accordance with dance department policy.
Pfister said that the issue of security is particularly important. “We have limited access to the dance studios and still we have cleaned up after parties, found furniture moved into the space and windows and doors left open, even though the College stated the studios were not for any non-dance functions, not for furniture storage, nor to act as a green room for Payne Hall,” Pfister said. She explained that the College puts money into equipment for those rooms to serve as dance spaces, particularly high-end equipment and special flooring.
In response to security concerns highlighted by Pfister, the new system would feature two checks. First, should the dance department desire, students wishing to use the new system could submit their names to a list of all studio users at the beginning of the year. In addition, a student would be charged with checking the space twice a week to make sure no damages or thefts had occurred. “At the end of the day, the goal of this is to inform students of a great resource on campus they can use, while making the space more secure,” Yekutiel said.
The drawback many dancers experience, whether they are studying in the department, dancing in student groups, or unaffiliated with any College program, is the two-fold difficulty associated with reserving the studio. First, it is difficult to navigate the process of obtaining permission. Second, even if a student takes the initiative, the process takes time and is subject to prioritization.
“The current system is inconvenient for all and unnecessarily privileged, as it prioritizes not only those in the dance program, but also those with the time to participate in a formally organized dance group on campus,” Michaela Morton ’12 said. Also a concern is the fact that the logistical challenge of reserving the space results in a lower awareness of its availability.