The Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts buildings are in need of a face lift, according to Associated Students Inc. CLA student board members.
ASI College of Liberal Arts board member and history senior Aaron Warshawsky said the college has no main base since 17 different majors are spread across campus and the CLA has only four designated buildings: Graphic Arts, English, H.P. Davidson Music and Dexter.
The College of Liberal Arts is the third largest of six Cal Poly colleges and received the most applicants of any other college from a highly competitive application pool of first-time freshman and transfer students for the 2007-08 academic year.
“In reality, all we need is a classroom and professors, but we have no identity besides a sign in front of the faculty office buildings,” Warshawsky said.
CLA Associate Dean Debra Valencia-Laver sympathizes with students on this issue.
“It would be great down the line to add additional spaces associated with the College of the Liberal Arts. The liberal arts college is highly competitive and I wish there was magical money coming in. I do, however, understand students’ concern and sense of pride within their colleges,” Valencia-Laver said.
The CLA faculty offices are mainly located within building 47, known as ‘the maze’ to many students and faculty for its complicated structural design.
Valencia-Laver said the main reason for distributing majors throughout campus is due in part to what they are learning.
“Unfortunately, most of the liberal arts majors are distributed and mask the visibility,” she said. “One of the reasons those programs have the space is because of the labs and activities in the major. There are a lot of hands-on learning majors, but fewer majors within the college have that aspect.”
So far the only changes within the college are a new studio for Cal Poly’s radio station KCPR in the Graphics Arts building, renovating Dean Linda Halisky’s office and temporarily moving Valencia-Laver’s office to the facilities building. The only future plans for the CLA is a renovation of the H.P. Davidson Music Building.
ASI CLA board member and political science junior Angela Kramer said that this issue involves needed policy changes.
“In a 20-year plan the only facility that will be constructed is a remodel of the music department. I’m going to echo what Aaron said and say that the identity factor is a huge part of it,” Kramer emphasized.
“There are professors and faculty on the academic senate who don’t see a need for our departments, who say that Cal Poly has too many fluffy classes like English and too many touchy-feely classes like English and modern languages,” she said. “It is ridiculous because the things we study and what we want to do with them are the same importance of, let’s say, engineering.”
Part of the ASI board and CLA student council’s job is to incite enthusiasm within the CLA and establish a sense of pride. Warshawsky said they are activists for the College of Liberal Arts through campus-wide issues.
Because CLA students pay close to the same tuition each quarter as students in the other colleges, Kramer said, it is unfair that the CLA lacks the main infrastructure that other colleges have. But she acknowledges that other colleges are building new buildings, such as the College of Science and Math or those made possible by the anonymous $60 million given to the College of Architecture.
“Most CLA grads are not known for the big bucks,” Kramer said. “Basically we can sit here and encourage administration to construct CLA buildings until the cows come home. But they are not going to do anything unless someone hands them a big check.”