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Class Location Change August 31, 2006

Posted by heyheypaula in Class Stuff.

Recently, all classes for the MLS program which were held at Central downtown have been moved to UMSL for the remainder of the semester after a student’s car was stolen from Central’s lot.  In trying to decide if this location shift was justifiable or reactionary, I am considering the following information/ideas:

  • Between 2002 and 2004, 79 cars were stolen at UMSL ( http://www.umsl.edu/~asd/police/crime_report.htm ).  I am unclear about statistics at Central
  • Recently, a blanket email to MU students told about a female who was badly assaulted on the MU Columbia campus.  Would it make sense to move classes from MU because of this horrible crime?
  • Did this theft open up MU to liability of any sort?
  • Should the students play a more active role in making decisions such as this one?

I have in no way done any sort of scientific research on this area, though many of the students I’ve talked to have expressed that they see this as an unnecessary action.  What about others?  The person whose car was stolen?  Was this logistical change justified?


1. L Wolfe - August 31, 2006

If you enroll in a class and plan on attending at a specific location, then you would expect to continue attending at that location throughout the semester. That also goes for the instructors–wouldn’t they expect to be teaching in the same location throughout their class at the very least, if not throughout their agreement with the university? Several students had to withdraw from a class last semester that was supposed to be at Central, but ended up being in Edwardsville, IL. I can understand things are subject to change. For instance, if an instructor was unable to teach due to an illness, the university may have to find an alternative. There are certainly school policies governing this sort of thing, but this situation was probably not anticipated nor covered in these policies. This would have been the time to involve the students and instructors to make a decision beneficial to the majority. Do the students feel unsafe attending at Central Library West? Have they been asked this question? Is there someone that we can either email or speak to with our input?

Personally the Central Library location is convenient for me and I do not feel unsafe. I work there 3 days a week, so I have more experience with the location than most. Of course, the preference is an individual thing that depends on your home/work location. How do other students feel?

2. heyheypaula - August 31, 2006

After having attended a class in the UMSL location, I do feel that it was a superior classroom environment. There was nothing that affected my asthma, like the musty room at Central, and they also had high speed internet, which was a great teaching tool. There were really nice white boards, more comfortable chairs, and a place to get a bite to eat before class. Which doesn’t change the discussion points on this topic…it was just a nice room in which to hold a class.

3. L Wolfe - August 31, 2006

Central actually has a computer lab with high speed internet and from what I recall, comfy chairs, but it’s not used for classes such as Collections that aren’t really utilizing computers. It also used to have a cafe, but it was only open during the day even when it was there. To get a bite before class, you have to go over to Washington–there’s a few places there. So far as the asthma–sounds not fun 😦 But, like you said, not really the discussion points–but stuff that is important to class attendees.

4. heyheypaula - September 1, 2006

Yeah, that computer lab is really nice. I remember being pretty impressed by it in 7301. It would be cool if Central had high speed internet in the other classroom, just for the teacher to use, so that students who didn’t need to actually use the computer during class could have all their table space. And, it’s definitely much easier to drive INTO downtown during rush hour than to drive up to UMSL, for most people in my class, this added a lot of time to their commute. I think the entire problem for me is that this decision was made in a reactionary manner by someone who doesn’t have to teach or attend the classes. I feel like students should have been consulted to see if they felt unsafe, if the trade-off seemed worthwhile. Now, I do enjoy that the Metrolink dumps out right on campus, instead of having to walk down to 8th and Pine kinda late, but I’m pretty sure I”m the only one who uses public transportation to get to class, so that’s pretty moot.

5. DrumPhil - September 1, 2006

It’s cool that you use public trans, Paula. For me out in the county, I would have to drive in to get to a M’Link station anyway, so I just drive the whole way. I suppose I could take a bus to the M’Link, but it just seems awkward with schedules and all.
I agree that it’s easier to get downtown after hours than to UMSL. I’m guessing the decision makers thought the UMSL location would be safer than downtown. I don’t know how best to determine that, other than comparing crime statistics. I hope they did that, but maybe not.
Students in Karen’s classes are going to meet at UMSL, which is fine. But I really like getting exposed to the various library locations around town, and think that every StL MLS student should come in contact with SLPL Central!

6. heyheypaula - September 1, 2006

M’Link is very awkward for some people in the county. It can literally add hours to a commute. The first time I used the TripFinder on Metrolink’s site to get from Richmond Heights to the Landing, it took me through Fayetteville, Arkansas. I think it was in beta :). It’s really hard to compare crime statistics from UMSL to the City. For the city, you can say there are 2800 or so auto thefts per 100,000 residents, but that’s the entire city…including some really not-safe areas. You can look at UMSL’s crime stats on their website and see that in the years 2002-2004 there were 79 cars stolen…but finding a ratio is much harder. There are 15,000 students who attend UMSL, but they don’t all live there, some go part time, some go online, etc. It’s apples and oranges.. Personally, I don’t mind UMSL, though I agree it is nice to be exposed to all these other wonderful places. I think I would be more comfortable with the whole thing if either students were consulted to see what they felt (so, if, say, 75% of students wanted to go to UMSL, I could feel good that this was a majority opinion), or if there had at least been some sort of official communication with students to explain how this decision was made, what factors were considered, so that we knew it wasn’t just reactionary. This is my last semester of classes, so I guess it doesn’t effect me really. BTW, I posted this quickly because I am at work and kinda bored, with Friday-itis.  Also, this is the sort of conversation that’s really nice for students to get involved with…hopefully all those little slips of paper I’ve been handing out about the blog will create some more traffic.

7. julia - September 15, 2006

I was one of those in Cataloging who had the old switcharoo pulled for Summer. I signed up for a class in downtown and learned days before it started that it was in Edwardsville. The teacher explained that she had requested the class change, saying she felt “uncomfortable” about the homeless population at central. We immediately went from a class of 16 to a class of 8, the only benefit of which was more personal instruction. Driving to E’ville twice a week to arrive by 5:45 meant I had to leave my Clayton job by 4:20. Thank goodness for understanding employers.

I was also really disappointed by the class change this year and can only say it appears reactionary since no reasoning behind the move was provided save the car theft. I enrolled in class with an expectation it would be held in a specified location and again find myself driving excessively.

8. Kim - September 20, 2006

I think that my reaction to the news that classes were moving was completely biased. I was excited that the location of class was changing, but that’s because UMSL is MUCH closer to my home than the Central Building was. It is saving me nearly 30 minutes driving time each way. So, for me, I was glad that classes were moved. Now…was it RIGHT for them to move the classes? Well, I am not so sure about that. I feel bad for the people who were inconvenienced. From the email we received, I was under the impression that there was more than one reason for the move. If the only reason for the move was because of the car theft, then I am not sure if that is justified.

The first night of my class, we were told that the gates for the parking lot were not working. Had they been working, there is a good chance that the student’s car would not have been stolen…or at least it would have been much more difficult for the thieves to get out of the parking lot. In that case, I don’t see a problem with the class being moved until the appropriate safety measures can be taken to secure the parking lot. And as I stated before, I would love to stay at UMSL because of it’s proximity to my house. 🙂

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