Some concerned over use of spaces by NUS students
story Vasudha Kataruka, Contributing Reporter
After two years living in Residential College 4 (RC4) Yale-NUS College students finally have their own spaces in the new campus. But a recent space crunch at the library and other facilities has highlighted the ambiguity of whether students of the National University of Singapore (NUS) should have access to campus facilities. Currently, public spaces outside the residential colleges are accessible to non Yale-NUS students and facilities are open to NUS students from 8 am to 8 pm. This may change depending on use, overuse or at exam times, said President Pericles Lewis in an email interview.
With the start of midterm season, Yale-NUS students have voiced concerns about a lack of seats in the Learning Commons, which has been partly occupied by NUS students. Student Government member Jay Lusk ’18 said he has personally received 20 complaints. The use of campus facilities by NUS students also has implications on the identity of the College and its relationship with NUS, some argue.
Interim Dean of Students Brian McAdoo said he was not aware of the problem. The Student Government is polling students to understand its extent.
Students interviewed said NUS students do use facilities after daytime hours. May Tay ’17 said she has seen NUS students access the study spaces beyond 8pm. Other students interviewed said that they were concerned about the right Yale-NUS students have over their campus facilities. “If our students don’t have priority for our own space, considering we pay higher school fees for this, then where do we go?” asked Christina Ho ’17.
Other NUS residential colleges such as the College of Alice and Peter Tan (CAPT) and Cinnamon College have exclusive libraries and Multi-Purpose Halls (MPH) which cannot be used by external students. The CAPT and Cinnamon libraries are common spaces equivalent to our Common Lounges, which will soon be furnished with books, said Mr. McAdoo. “The problem is that we are on a smaller campus and don’t have additional resources, like the other students in U-Town do, like faculties and libraries.” Once Yale-NUS reaches full capacity of 1000 students, the policies should be revised to ensure there is not a stretch of our limited resources, he added.
These spaces also facilitate interaction within the small Yale-NUS community, especially between classes. Having NUS students using these facilities inhibits this process, said Tay.
Others are worried that completely closing off these spaces to non Yale-NUS students may strain the College’s relationship with NUS students. Tay said it might make Yale-NUS seem unapproachable. It is a sensitive and difficult issue to solve, she added. Similarly, Mr. Mcadoo said that there needs to be a balance between fulfilling the needs of Yale-NUS students and maintaining our relationship with NUS. Ho added that the current lack of a clear policy has created friction and discomfort between NUS users and Yale-NUS students.
In addition, the Yale-NUS Library is a part of the NUS Libraries, which all NUS students can access. The Learning Commons are located just above the library and card access is not required to move between these spaces, so regulating entry to one but not the other is an issue. The Educational Resources and Technology Office, which manages both spaces, was not available for comment.
Beyond the library, Ho has encountered NUS students using the MPH for basketball. Mr. McAdoo said the MPH, dance studios and practice rooms need to be reserved, but whether or not non Yale-NUS students can use them is unclear.
“It’s important to have smart policies so you can not be exclusive of our space but also maintain the resources we need to run our College,” said Mr. McAdoo. Some solutions suggested by students include implementing the current policy of the Library accessibility for certain hours, allowing NUS students access to facilities only when accompanied by Yale-NUS students and establishing a book delivery system with other NUS libraries.
The Student Government polls on campus facilities close this Friday.