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Student groups to move to Newcomb

With only six weeks left until the start of the fall semester, several University organizations finally will find a place to call home.

In April, top University administrators decided that all student organizations with office space on the first floor and in the basement of Peabody Hall would have to vacate the building to make room for the Office of Admissions.

A new special collections library will eventually replace Miller Hall, which now houses the Office of Admissions.

H. Sam Miller, assistant to the vice president for student affairs, said administrators and Student Council members met with group leaders to come up with office assignments.

"I think we've done a pretty good job" of allocating space, Miller said.

The majority of the groups will be housed in Newcomb Hall, Newcomb Hall Director Eddie Daniels said.

But ongoing renovations to Newcomb Hall's first floor and basement may delay the move of these groups until just before the beginning of the school year.

Right now, Daniels said he is "cautiously optimistic" that all of the construction will be completed by the August 25 target date.

"Things are going very well," he said.

"We have a lot of projects going," he added, emphasizing the tight construction schedule the workers face.

John Finley, Student Council Chief Financial Officer, said the problem with the displaced groups should serve as a notice to University officials that "students at the University may need a new student activity center."

Discussion about such a building "needs to be held in the near future," he said.

Among the eight groups moving into Newcomb Hall will be the Inter-Fraternity Council, the Inter-Sorority Council, the Black Fraternal Council and Corks & Curls.

ISC President Margaret Dumas said she is pleased with her new office.

"We're really not losing any space," Dumas said.

Three of the displaced groups-Student Legal Services, Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue and the Pep Band-did not receive space in Newcomb and most likely will be housed in the former faculty apartments on Rugby Road.

Student Legal Services Director Lester Wilson said he does not feel the move to Rugby will have a detrimental effect on SLS' ability to aid students.

After the initial decision to move the groups, some student leaders complained that not enough credence had been given to the opinion of the involved groups-calling the concept of student self-governance into question.

"In the long run, I'm very, very concerned about the way [the move] was handled," Finley said. "I fear the administration may use this as precedent to usurp Student Council's authority to assign office space and generally [ignore] the voice of the students in making decisions."

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