October 1, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 19  

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Film students upset over loss of study room

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

Film students were upset to learn the study room designated to them was taken away this year because more rooms were needed to accommodate the English department's graduate students.

Western's film studies program is part of the English department, so the decision to take the room away was out of the control of film studies faculty members. Film students were also distressed to learn three out of four full-time professors in the film faculty had departed Western for positions at other institutions, as reported in last Friday's issue of The Gazette.

The loss of the study room and the loss of the professors at the same time leaves film students with a bad feeling, said Angel Hannon, a fourth-year film and media, information and technoculture student. The film program is a small program and the study room was an important component of the "community feel," she added.

"The lounge was a place for film students to hang out and get to know each other - now that is all gone," Hannon said, adding the tight-knit community was one of the most rewarding aspects of Western's film program.

"The department of English decided that room was needed to accommodate incoming English graduate students who needed an office," said Ben Filippini, a recent graduate of the film program. "This occurred in lieu of the fact that in University College grad students have exclusive access to their own lounges, reading rooms and computer labs, any of which could just as easily have been converted into such an office."

Filippini went on to say the department decided it would raid the insubstantial resources of the undergraduate film program.

When asked about the re-designation of the room, Douglas Kneale, chair of the English department, explained there is a huge shortage of space in University College. "We had to put our [teaching assistants] somewhere," he stated.

Kneale denied the study room was converted to a graduate student office for any reason other than the need for space. "Everyone [in University College] feels the constraint of this lack of space," he explained.

"I'd be happy to talk to students and clear up any misunderstandings," Kneale added, saying he was not aware of the disappointment over the loss of the film study room.



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