A call for action: The art department deserves more

Viertes Haus at FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus. Alba Rosa/ PantherNOW

Alba Rosa | Assistant Opinion Director

From rat infestations to outbreaks of black mold, art students feel hopeless. Because of the lack of care, maintenance and funding from our own university, angry art students are now demanding appropriate action as soon as possible. 

FIU’s art students deserve the bare minimum. They deserve a safe environment to study and work, just like everyone else. 

“Art majors are often ignored or taken for granted,” said Alessandra Delpino, an art student at FIU. “That is a stigma that must change.” 

The conditions in the buildings first started deteriorating around fall 2021 and luckily, some repairs were done as time went by.  

But it’s noticeable how little FIU cares for their art department, when you compare relatively well-maintained buildings like Graham Center and Primera Casa, to the run-down ones like Viertes Haus and the art studios. 

A rat scurries across a room in one of the art buildings. Izzy Canizares/ PantherNOW.  

While concerns regarding the decaying art studios were brought to light, art students were met with silence. They felt like their worries were unimportant. 

But it’s about time that changed.  

Amy Neuman, an FIU art student, created a petition in hopes of changing the state of their beloved classrooms and studios. 

It discusses the issues experienced by art students and includes reasonable suggestions.  

Through the petition, art students ask the Board of Trustees to aim philanthropist Mackenzie Scott’s donations towards CARTA, so they can “renovate our classrooms, purchase new state-of-the-art equipment, as well as provide funding for our professors, advising staff, and funds for student organizations.” 

“We get ignored every single time,” Delpino said.  

She also mentions the struggle of making complaints in their forum. Delpino, along with other students, often see their requests for maintenance being constantly denied, or blatantly ignored — clearly, they are swept under the rug. 

FIU’s administration should be more responsible for maintaining cleanliness in all buildings around campus.

Departments like CARTA deserve the same amount of attention and respect that’s given to others. It’s not fair for our art students to be at the bottom. It’s unprofessional, and many can argue about their importance to the university. 

Neuman, along with another art student Kristen Gonzalez, created a WhatsApp group chat where fellow students discussed and advocated for fixing the problems within their respective buildings. It has become exceedingly popular, and, because of these advocates and the petition, changes are expected to be made during the summer. 

And hopefully, renovations and improvements will be done by the time we return for the upcoming fall semester.  

Seeing the FIU art community struggling was upsetting news for me. I used to be heavily involved in the arts so I can understand their frustration because it’s nearly impossible to work with outdated supplies, in rooms with rotting air conditioning systems.  

It’s disappointing to see the neglect. It’s unfortunate to witness the alarming differences between the neat Graham Center and Viertes Haus. Especially the art studios on the other side of campus, where art students work on their projects with rusted tools and pests.  

Scott’s donation could have been a lifesaver for the art department. These changes should be implemented to build a better, and safer, environment for art students to work on their projects. 

I wholeheartedly agree with the petition by the art community and I encourage change to be made as quickly as possible. 

This is a lesson to be learned by FIU’s administration. It’s about time for them to recognize the importance of their mistake; with this, they’ll be more proactive in helping maintain the community and aim to be better overall.  

These art students deserve their buildings’ renovation, but it isn’t going to magically resolve the bigger problem — we must continue to ensure that no more irresponsibility takes place within FIU. 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community

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