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We’d wager Miami could do more to keep Armstrong Student Center open 24/7

The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Just before the start of the fall semester, Miami announced that the Armstrong Student Center (ASC) would have new operating hours of 6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. This came as a shock to many as, since its opening in 2014, Armstrong has been open to students 24/7.

As students who still pay the full Armstrong Student Center fee every semester, even though we can access the building less, we're left feeling as though Miami thought providing a crucial student service wasn't worth figuring out.

In an interview, Director of the Armstrong Student Center, Katie Wilson, said the change in hours was in reaction to Dining Services' choice to not staff Pulley Diner during those hours.

"That few people in a building of 200,000 square feet isn't safe for those students or for the student staff," Wilson said. "It's a big building to have that few people in it and still be a safe environment, so I felt like without dining being open we couldn't maintain a safe environment in the rest of the building."

For the last five years, Armstrong has served as a central, reliable place for a late-night meal or early-morning study space.

Armstrong also provided students a place between Uptown's bars and the dorms where they could get a hot meal to sober up, use the bathroom and warm up during the winter months.

There are other options to compensate for Armstrong's late night closure. Students can call the BCRTA SafeRide line or take the BCRTA bus, which picks up at the Uptown Park and stops at both Shriver and Farmer. Both bus services run until 3 a.m, and King Library will remain open 24/7.

However, these options don't provide students the same amenities or convenience as Armstrong.

We at The Student sympathize with the fact that a student building manager, without the help of an adult in Dining Services, could not safely watch all of ASC in the middle of the night. But there are other options that Miami has left unexplored.

Wilson expressed pessimism at the idea that ASC could find an adult to work the third shift, especially when many positions remain open on campus.

In July of 2019, Butler County reported having a 4.4 percent unemployment rate. So with this tight labor market, offering competitive wages and benefits is the best way Miami could ensure that the positions are filled.

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Unfortunately, though, living wages don't seem to be Miami's priority.

Currently, all full-time hourly positions listed for Miami's dining services have a starting rate of $13.oo an hour, and employees are eligible for benefits. Wages for student employees start at $9.00 an hour.

Students working the third shift are paid $9.50 an hour. There are no current listings for non-student third shift workers.

Third shift positions are an integral part of Armstrong's operations, and Miami could fill them if they offered competitive wages and benefits to their employees.

The failure to invest in university workers is a failure to invest in preserving a crucial student space.

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