Dean of the College of Arts and Architecture Nanny Cornywell recently announced plans to modify the existing academic gate programs that are in place, and students have retaliated by saving the gates, literally.
Architecture students erected a wall around the Dean’s Office in Cheever Hall. Joel McMann, a junior in the architecture program, proudly boasted about the new barrier — “It’s composed of aluminum and cedar modules that have been articulated to create a beautiful, strong geometric pattern.” He also casually added, “It can stand up to several thousand pounds of force, and I’d like to see the dean try to get through it. We made it through the gates figuratively, so she can do it literally.”
The alleged modification of the program comes after Cornywell held a forum discussing changes to the existing gate system. Concerned that the gates might be removed, arts and architecture students formed an opposing petition that had several hundred signatures before the forum even took place.
The forum itself devolved into a shouting match as Cornywell had to both figuratively and literally dodge the attacks of angry students. A small group of protesters circled her podium holding picket signs and chanting pro-gate slogans.
The programs limit the enrollment of students within certain disciplines of the college by only allowing a specific number of academically successful students to progress within their studies. There are gates currently in place for photography, film, architecture, graphic design and music technology majors.
“It ensures that we have small, dedicated classes full of talented people,” said pro-gate advocate Eric Smith, “And besides we had to put up with it, so it would be totally unfair if other people didn’t have to.” Smith was one of the students who encircled Cornywell — he held a sign that read “We Deserve It.”
The architecture students aren’t the only ones to have taken a literal stance in the preservation of gates as large walls have also been erected around the Visual Communications Building by film and photo students. The literal gate at the entrance of the building is strictly controlled and requires entrants to submit a framed, alternative process photo or a short film along with an artist’s statement for why they want to enter. This must be repeated for every time a student enters. There’s also said to be secret police patrolling the inside of the building- rumor has it that a photo student was caught using Instagram “seriously” and a film student when questioned “didn’t even know who Wes Anderson is.” Neither has been heard from since.
Students in the graphic design program also announced plans for a wall, saying that they “have a basic concept, but it just doesn’t quite look right yet.”