Is CVPA falling apart? A talk with students and administration

By Jonathan Perreira, Staff Writer

On Monday, September 18, The Torch received some tips that suggested that UMass Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts was essentially falling apart. Eager to expose what may be a giant story, The Torch began meeting with concerned students who believed their needs weren’t being met. So, what is going on in CVPA?

A common complaint was directed towards the infrastructure of the building. Broken outlets, flickering lights, leaky roofs, missing window shades, and more.

To many other majors, these may seem more of a nuisance than a serious problem, but in the arts where the control of light and the access to electronics is a necessity, the severity of this problem becomes clear.

The Torch interviewed students of different schools, like photography, illustration, art history, etc., and all had very specific complaints, like illustration light tables not turning on.

Some complaints were a little outlandish, but in general seemed to point to a very real problem. Of course, The Torch wasn’t able to interview the entire population of CVPA, only a handful of students who came forward and asked to remain anonymous. But the questions remain: is there a serious infrastructure problem with CVPA, and if so, why aren’t they being fixed?

I set up a meeting with the Dean David Klamen and Assistant Dean Megan Abajian of CVPA. The first question The Torch asked them was if there were any common complaints regarding the building.

To my surprise, they both answered no. They believed there were no frequent issues regarding the infrastructure. They did admit that the roof leaked, but that was the nature of a flat roof in New England, and that wasn’t unique to CVPA.

After considering their answer, it only would make sense that the administration of any department would avoid admitting to any major underlying issues, so The Torch hit with a harder question and asked how they would describe CVPA infrastructure and the state of classroom materials?

Their answers, again, conflicted with the handful of students The Torch interviewed. Klamen sais the CVPA may be one of the soundest buildings on the campus, considering it was one of the latest built.

Abajian explained that there is a new Digital Media Room and new Printing Center on the second floor as of this academic year. As for recent years, she explained how CVPA built a new Electronic Music Lab and rebuilt the Auditorium (room 153). The one thing both administrative leaders wanted to change was the signage in the building, but that was there biggest issue.

After doing some personal research and exploring of CVPA, The Torch found the administration’s answers to be true. As for the students with complaints? Also true. But what Klamen and Abajian explained to me is that they weren’t being made aware of these issues, or the proper departments weren’t being reported to.

If students have complaints, they should certainly tell administration about it and if a complaint is common or central, a group should report it together. As students, we can’t forget that we a voice, a very loud one, at UMass Dartmouth. A member of the Student Government Association informed The Torch that, in a meeting with Abajian and the Infrastructure Committee, work orders are already being placed for the broken outlets, but besides that little issue, infrastructure problems are campus-wide and due simply to the age of our beautiful, brutalist buildings.

If you aren’t convinced or have complaints yourself regarding CVPA, I urge you to email Megan Abajian at mabajian@umassd.edu.

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