Starbuck relocations come to a close as investigation continues: Starbuck employees and other faculty speak about their concerns and experience in this process

Posted by Julia Leef

This week concludes the three-week process of relocating the Starbuck Center offices to various places across campus while the center undergoes tests in response to unidentified health concerns expressed by employees.

The new locations include the second and fourth floors of Palamountain Hall, as well as the Game Room in Case Center, which has been redesigned to accommodate the new offices.

"I work with a great group and we all pulled together, got packed up, relocated and then set back-up for business in two days," said Patricia Choukeir, senior administrative assistant in Academic Advising, which moved to the fourth floor of Palamountain. "I don't look at it as an inconvenience but as a safety precaution and as a temporary situation. We are settled in and the students seem to be finding us, which is very important to us as well."

Student employees who work in Starbuck also have been affected by the relocations. Madeline Clary '14, who works for the Office of Off-Campus Study and Exchanges, said she was not able to return to work until the office had settled into its new location in the Game Room.

Clary said she first received notification of the investigation in President Glotzbach's address to the student body on Jan. 25, indicating that student employees are no more privy to the health concerns that spurred the closure of Starbuck than the general community.

"They seem to be keeping on the down low, which is kind of disconcerting," Clary said. "If we work there, we have a right to know what's going on."

Other students have expressed their concerns to Health Services, who, while keeping student information private, said these were being taken into account.

"I did hear from several students asking appropriate questions and their concerns are being addressed by the college administrators looking into the Starbuck situation," said Patricia Bosen, director of Health Services.

This confidentiality and reluctance to distribtue information have been the source of much confusion and worry on campus, and is something that Public Relations must address, especially when confronted by prospective students and their families.

"Our stance is not to shy away from the issue," said Aaron Wallace '12, the head tour guide at Public Relations. "We believe that Skidmore has been handling the situation in the best way possible, so there is nothing for us to shy away from when regarding this issue."

Others share this confidence in the way the College is handling the situation, such as Kellyn Jackson '12, head resident of Wilmarth Hall. She said she is not concerned about Wilmarth's close proximity to Starbuck.

"Though it did cross my mind, I have no reason at this time to be concerned. I have seen maintenance address mold problems when I lived in Howe-Rounds, and their treatment was fully effective," Jackson said. "Since all they have found in Starbuck so far has been mold, I am sure there's no reason to worry."

For more detailed information on the progress of the Starbuck investigation, students may view this article.

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