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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Comm students get short end of the stick during renovations

Students work on producing The Antelope. Antelope Staff

The incomplete library renovation plans are putting the communication programs at risk.

As of Sept. 30, the plan was to keep the east side of the Mitchell Center open for communication students during phase one. A week later, project managers reassigned it to the library. 

Now, the Department of Communication, excluding the radio station, is being moved to University Residence South.

If we don’t get the east side during phase one, it will diminish our educational experience and limit opportunities.

That side houses the Advertising and Public Relations Club, the speech team, the radio station, recording studios, the KLPR general manager’s office and the multimedia lab.

Project managers want to replace this space with library faculty offices and storage for university archives. 

Not only is faculty being prioritized, but storing documents looks to be more important than continuing that collaborative experience for students.

The university needs to look for a different location to store archival materials that doesn’t discourage hands-on learning.

It doesn’t make sense to store physical archives in the multimedia lab, which has computers, space for an adviser’s office and the networks we need to produce The Antelope. Or the conference room where groups like the AdPR Club and radio show teams meet. Sports communication students could dash between these rooms and KLPR to produce projects.

Aside from the students, the Department of Communication faculty is underrepresented in this transitional process.

The library has five faculty members on the steering team, and the Mitchell Center has one. Our department chair is not included in these meetings nor are other volunteers.

The department chair should not have to rely on secondhand information and notes to understand the fate of their students.

We commend our single representative for doing their best to pass on the information, but altogether, the communication during the renovation plans has been poorly handled, and we’re not sure the project managers know this. Transparency is important to a department that is based on the need for clear communication.

Keeping our department together could be a positive experience if we were given more of a heads up about it. But there is not a plan for the arrangement of our department in URS, and if there is, we don’t know about it.

Before the change, the library dean arranged his faculty within the library’s allotted space. Only six faculty members would shift from working in-person and from home. Now, the university is moving library faculty to the east side of the Mitchell Center to limit working online.

But if the KLPR general manager is separated from the station, he cannot manage technical problems as soon as they happen.

During phase two, it’s possible that students won’t have access to the station due to safety concerns during construction. But if students cannot access the radio station during phase two, then what is the point of being a sports communication major at UNK?

UNK could have gotten approval from the FCC years ago to move the radio station’s equipment to a temporary location. Now an academic program and a critical student media source are at risk because of poor planning. 

The students understand the need for building repairs, and we were OK with the preliminary plans to move our media teams to the east side. 

But UNK’s mission is to serve students, but right now, the communication students’ needs are being overlooked.

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  • M

    Mad UNK Journalism AlumOct 13, 2022 at 2:37 pm

    Let me try to understand….UNK is moving Greek Life out of URS because of safety and health concerns BUT are moving the Department of Communication to URS???

  • L

    LisaOct 13, 2022 at 9:35 am

    As a UNK Broadcast Journalism major alum, I’m disappointed by the lack of transparency and communication UNK has shown during this process. Students are paying thousands of dollars to receive a quality education and right now library archives seem to be more important than students. Having a communication department in one location encourages learning, collaboration and success. UNK – please do the right thing for students. If you don’t, students will go where they are valued to receive the quality education they deserve.