SUBstandard: The Student Union Building hours should match the rest of the campus

The SUB’s schedule runs counter to students’ schedules

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Student Union Building during the evening
The SUB forgets we pay for it. Photo: Jonathan Wong / The Peak

By Nercya Kalino, Staff Writer

How is it that the most student-centric building on campus has the most restrictive hours? Whether it’s during or in-between semesters, most of the Burnaby campus is basically open 24/7. Not so with the Student Union Building (SUB). It’s time for the building’s hours to match the rest of the campus.

To be fair, between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m, some of the campus’ doors are locked. But there’s always a way to get into campus. It seems like a no-brainer as to why. As students, our schedules vary based on our course load, extracurricular activities, and the lives we have outside of academics. I’m sure you’ll find during your university career that students have some of the weirdest schedules around. The rest of the campus has hours that accommodate students’ complex schedules. Case in point, the AQ is open 24/7

The SUB, it seems, has yet to realize the problem with restrictive hours. Between semesters, the building’s hours are 10:00 a.m. to  4:00 p.m. Fine, I guess. During the semester, though, the building opens two hours after the rest of the campus at 9:00 a.m. Why? That’s not even the worst of it, because the building is entirely inaccessible before then, unlike the rest of the campus.  

It feels like a bait-and-switch. We’ve spent so long waiting for the SUB to fully open, and now it’s opened with restrictive, seemingly arbitrary hours. And that is not all.  Due to this restriction, many of us crowd the building at peak hours in hopes of avoiding traffic in other communal spaces. Earlier this year, the SUB closed to reducing in-person activities due to rising cases of the new Omicron variant, despite the SFSS articulating their concern for the health of students. Not ideal in the middle of a pandemic where we’re apparently supposed to be social distancing. The SUB’s hours make that harder. 

That’s not even to mention the sheer number of critical student spaces the building houses that are off-limits to students thanks to those weird hours. The SUB is supposed to be one of the spaces that indulge students. We have spaces for food, retail, napping, recreation, dining areas, as well as study areas. We’ve also got important groups representing marginalized groups like the Disability and Neurodiversity Alliance, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Student Association, and Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry residing in the SUB. 

All of this begs the question, “why?” Why the abnormal hours?

 If the SUB’s decision-makers are short-staffed, hire students! We need jobs. There are plenty of students that live on the Burnaby campus surely seeking experience. But if we’re being kept from the building because the SFSS feels overly protective of its new toy, well that’s harder to respect. 

Students don’t have predictable hours and we’re absent any concrete reasoning from the SFSS on why things like $11,000 parties are more important than paying for SUB maintenance staff. While in part, this is speculation, the building’s limited hours continue to feel like bait for something we can’t fully enjoy. The hours of operation remove groups of students that have unconventional schedules. It’s not us, it’s the hours. 

 We’ve paid for the space. We’re still paying for the space. It’s time for the building managers to unclench and line their hours up with the rest of the campus.