By Torianne Schiff
Feb 02 2022
When most people think about college, they probably imagine students in a dorm studying for midterms or partying. However, UB’s campus experience is a bit different than the traditional university. Being a commuter school means that most of our students have demanding lives outside of the classroom, which doesn’t allow much time for getting involved in extracurriculars. This leads to many of the University’s resources going under-utilized.
One of those valuable resources was the Gym, which is now reserved exclusively for the Baltimore City Police Department training academy. One of UB’s best-kept secrets, nestled on the second floor of the academic center is a fully equipped and operational gym featuring a full-length basketball court and bleachers along with several rooms for weight lighting, aerobics, cycling, dance, and even handball.
Unfortunately, not many students utilized this resource before the Lease was signed with the Police Academy. In a recent survey, 68% of students said they never used the UB gym, which makes sense why they wouldn’t miss it or be affected by the lease agreement. Still, as UB receives over 1.3 Million dollars each year in the 5 year Lease agreement, surely students should be compensated for the loss of access to one of our most valuable resources.
(something about online shift because of the pandemic)
While 80% of the students we polled said that they already knew the Police academy is training on our campus, 18% had no idea this was happening. Of those same respondents, 83% said they did not know that UB was receiving so much money and 54% did not know that the gym is now exclusively reserved for Police training.
This lack of transparency and communication, unfortunately, seems to be a signature of UB’s decision-making processes, and the elephant in the room is the alleged debt that sucks away any profit the University receives. Students should not have to read a 31-page document to find out how many millions of dollars UB will be profiting from this Lease Agreement. More, the University should be cultivating conversation around and with the Police Academy and UB Community to make this a partnership that truly reflects our values.
While the University may argue that the lease agreement is purely financial, I believe the board and administration would be remiss to ignore the political implications in partnering with the same Police force that was found to have violated the civil rights of Baltimore citizens on a regular basis. The University of Baltimore has an opportunity to transform the training that future Officers receive. Mention conflict resolution program & hopeful meeting with administrators.
Make sure to check back for the next part of our Hidden Gem series in which we help shed light and share valuable resources within the UB Community.