The dean of MU’s Engineering department held a private meeting Monday with students regarding the future of the school’s library.
Dean Elizabeth Loboa wanted students to feel free to speak candidly without worrying about the press, so she asked any student not related to the Engineering college to leave the room, including reporters.
After about an hour, students left the forum expressing frustration about the discussion. Six students spoke with KBIA, but five of them preferred to remain anonymous.
Senior engineering student Phong Nguyen said the dean tried to quell rumors that the Engineering library would eventually close to open more room for lab space.
“This meeting was basically to have a conversation with everybody about what’s actually happening,” Nguyen said.
Despite Loboa’s attempts to open the fate of the library to the students, Nguyen felt his opinion wasn’t heard. He said the library is important to students in the engineering program.
“She keeps on implying that this is a discussion that we need to have as a whole college,” Nguyen said. “They’ve moved forward with taking over the ground floor where IT is right now. It doesn’t seem like it’s a discussion, you know?”
Nguyen said nothing was officially decided in the meeting. Loboa, who students said is looking to expand the square footage of the department, said in an email there will be a general student meeting about the Engineering library and other issues in March.
She was unavailable for an interview, but in an email response to questions from KBIA, wrote:
As our college evaluates our space needs I believe it’s important to discuss this issue with students and get their feedback on how these decisions should be made.
I appreciated their open dialogue and found their questions and feedback insightful. It’s important for the students to be part of the process, and we want them to have a voice in the discussion.
Students are the backbone of our College and we want to ensure their educational needs are met as we prepare them for the workforce.