The university announced last week that North Quad 160, previously a study lounge for all students, would be strictly used as a student athlete study lounge, which did not sit well with many students.
One of those students, Codey Fauber, a junior social work major, decided to start a petition to help restore the lab back to its original purpose.
“We are not trying to play the blame game, all this is is us letting our voices be heard,” said Fauber. “The university made a bad decision and we are just letting them know.”
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The petition, which is addressed to interim provost and interim executive vice president for academic affairs Marilyn Buck and President Geoffrey Mearns, needs 1,000 signatures. It currently has 975 signatures, and is gaining more daily.
“With this petition, we have already received over 800 signatures and that easily overwhelms the 400 that that room was taken over for,” said Fauber. “If nothing else, this petition shows that 800 plus people are bothered by this change, than helped by this change. It is hurting the majority for the minority, which is not the best thing to do.”
While the petition is gaining momentum throughout the student body, it has reached Ball State alumni as well. Brad Coovert, a 1992 Ball State graduate, said that as an alumnus, he doesn’t like to see any one group of students get preference over another.
“I have nothing against athletes, but I feel education should always be the top priority of any university,” said Coovert. “Athletics, mainly football and basketball, make the university a lot of money and they always get some extra "perks". At least that is the way it seems in my opinion. So, that being said, when BSU calls wanting donations, I would be even less inclined to donate”
Ball State student athletes must meet 90 percent of the required 3.0 GPA for graduation in order to maintain eligibility for their respective sport prior to their second year of schooling, according to the NCAA. From there, the percentage requirement increases.
In an email from university spokesperson Marc Ransford, Provost Buck said that many other rooms on campus were reviewed, but none adequately fit the needs for the student athlete study table program.
Buck previously said that the furniture in the room, which originally housed a study lounge and world language lab, will be redistributed throughout the building.
“I don’t believe Marilyn Buck meant this when she made that comment, but when she said that the furniture would be removed and put in the hallways for other students, it creates a tension between the athletes and normal students because if the idea is that it’s good enough for regular students to study in the busy hallway, why isn’t it good enough for the student athletes?” said Fauber.
In addition to the petition, Fauber has scheduled a meeting with Provost Buck.
"We always appreciate knowing the concerns that students have especially when they are handled in a respectful manner," said Buck in an email from university spokesperson Kathy Wolf. "Until the new building is completed, we have no other options for the study tables."
Fauber also reached out to the Student Government Association.
“Our goal is to listen to all sides of this issue to gain a better understanding before we propose any action. SGA wants to act as a liaison between the concerned students and administration to identify a resolution that will address the student concerns without negatively impacting the university,” said SGA president Greg Carbó in an email.
“SGA represents the voices and concerns of all students including students who are athletes, so we want to be deliberative in exploring the issue and proposing any action. We are here to listen, facilitate conversation and help keep our university the best it can be.”
Fauber says that if all else fails, he will reach out to Muncie state representative Sue Errington.
The Daily News reached out the the athletic department for a comment, but they could not be reached. In addition, the Daily News was unable to speak with athletes because they can't comment without a sports information director.