Striking the right chord: Opening up campus spaces to equitable and respectful use

Following negotiations among a number of offices on campus, the voices of the College’s various a cappella groups will resound once again within the walls of Chapin and Brooks-Rogers following the reinstatement of the singing groups’ privileges to these spaces for concerts. As a cappella is a source of popular entertainment with a loyal following at the College, the news that these superior concert spaces will be available to these groups again is welcome news. However, the fact that this privilege was previously revoked should lead to conscientious respect in utilizing these shared spaces.

No one was thrilled with the thought of an a cappella concert in Greylock or starting the weekend out with a show in Griffin 3. Awkward seating aside, these spaces simply do not fit the needs of a singing group. Allowing a cappella groups to again perform in Chapin and Brooks-Rogers allows them a chance to showcase their talent in spaces that enhance their performances. Additionally, requiring the music department to share its facilities is in line with the trend of inclusivity in the use of spaces around campus. For example, Lasell sees varsity and club athletes share facilities with non-athlete students as well as community members. In the academic sphere, even Science Quad houses both chemistry labs and art history conferences. The idea that Brooks-Rogers and Chapin are intended solely for the use of the music department does not harmonize with the campus culture.

While inclusivity is important, it is also important for those who use these spaces to do so responsibly. These building spaces were previously closed to a cappella groups because of their often-careless behavior that endangered expensive equipment. Practice rooms were frequently left unclean and scheduling conflicts hampered the music department’s use of the spaces. The temporary revocation of a cappella groups’ access to these areas sends a clear message to the student body: Using community spaces at the College is a privilege that can easily be taken away if students do not take care to preserve the facilities they use. The establishment of a clear policy regarding guidelines for use of these spaces and protocol for reserving them is a step in the right direction in clearing lines of communication between a cappella groups and the music department while avoiding further conflict.

We live in a community in which respectful behavior is an expectation, and a cappella rehearsals and concerts should be no different. Groups should keep theses spaces clean. Keeping this in mind going forward will be crucial as students and the College navigate the sharing of spaces.