Thursday, September 20, 2007

What's in a lot?

The latest campus controversy concerns the Sangren parking lot. Two-thirds of the lot is blocked off to cars, and speckled with a collection of benches, tables, flower planters, and bike racks. The lot is painted with a bizarre red design. This replaces the yellow "Japanese rising sun" design that it had last year. You have to see it to know how bizarre it looks.

Some enterprising students filed a FOIA request, and discovered that the parking lot furnishings cost Western $120,000.

The lot was closed to use it for storage for the construction of the Chemistry Annex. The university's long term plan calls for the lot to become "green space". However, Western is hoping to renovate Sangren Hall before too long, so the lot will be needed for the same purpose as before. Why not just open the lot to parking? According to one of the students who investigated the lot, the administration wanted to avoid criticism for having to close the lot again. Oops.

So the administration spent $120,000 to protect itself from criticism, and failed. This doesn't inspire much confidence in the people spending our tax dollars.

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