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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Petition proposes renovations to Kemper Hall


135 students, 12 alumni sign petition

A memorandum was delivered to the Office of the Chancellor on March 15 for a petition to improve the Kemper Hall basement facilities. 135 undergraduate students, mainly from the Computer Science Department, and 12 alumni signed the petition. This petition was hand-delivered on the last week of instruction of Winter Quarter.

The memorandum brings to light issues within the Kemper Hall basement, which, over the years has earned the nickname “The Dungeon.” These issues include poor bathroom sanitation and broken locking mechanisms on the bathroom stalls, a foul smell throughout the basement, inadequate airflow, uncomfortably cold lab rooms and no access to vending machines or bottled water.

The memorandum addressed the fact that, despite housing the Computer Science Instructional Facility (CSIF), which includes labs with tutoring and office hours spaces, the Kemper Hall basement provides students and faculty with poor facilities. It also mentioned that computer science (CS) is the third largest major on campus and thus deserves improved amenities in its parent building.

Simple requests from the memorandum include thorough cleaning and replacement of bathroom dividers for the Kemper Hall basement restrooms and an installation of a hydration station to fill water bottles.

In the long run, the petition requested for an expansion or relocation of the computer science undergraduate facilities.

“I think that the renovations to the basement are really important to the students, especially their morale,” said Andy Wu, a second-year computer science major, via email. “The basement houses the CSIF, which are the computer rooms that a majority of CS students do work in because most assignments have to be submitted from those machines. Most TAs host office hours down there, too, so every CS student at some point has been down there. Improving the place will hopefully make it feel less dungeony.”

Martin Marquez, a third-year statistics major, agrees with Wu’s sentiments and would have signed the petition if it was still open.

“I’m not a computer science major, but I have taken ECS classes where I have needed to utilize Kemper facilities, and it is awful,” Marquez said. “I’m glad administration finally noticed the neglect the Kemper Hall basement and its students are facing […] It’s definitely called the dungeon for a reason.”

Addressing whether there have been or will be tangible changes to the Kemper Hall basement, Jason Blevins, a fourth-year computer science major and the writer of the petition, was unsure.

“As of two weeks ago, there is no noticeable change,” Blevins said via email. “I have been told by many faculty and staff that changes are coming, but it has been two months or so and not much has changed. I am not 100 percent on the status since I have not been down there in a week or so.”

The issue of the basement was first brought up in a post made by Blevins in the Davis Computer Science Club Facebook page. After much popularity from that post, Blevins created the petition. After delivering the letter, there was a response from the chancellor’s office in which Blevins was contacted by the director of Facilities Management.

A town hall meeting was held on April 25 between students and the Computer Science Department administration to discuss issues regarding Kemper Hall.


Written by: Yvonne Leong — campus@theaggie.org


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