Imagine the joy when you find out the college you are starting at has a few arcade games in the college centre. You’d count yourself damn lucky because I had nothing like that, were I went.
However this story is not about joy of having arcade games at your college, it’s about the sadness of having them whipped away from you for no apparent reason. Read on….
When Fullerton College returned to class this semester the Associated Students found three video games missing from the arcade in the College Center.
The machines were not stolen; they were removed after a decision apparently made by Vice President of Educational Support Janet Portolan, Interim Dean of Admissions and Records Darlene Jensen and Fullerton College President Kathleen Hodge.
The video game cabinets were taken out after only a single exchange of e-mails between Hodge and A.S. President Ethan Morse at the end of last semester. In the correspondence, Hodge cited “the atmosphere of the room” and “the safety of the students” as reasons for the removal of “the two games that are not against the walls,” which were free-standing in the room.
In his response, Morse stated that, to the knowledge of A.S., the arcade games were not a safety hazard and no complaints about the configuration had been made by students. Hodge did not respond to Morse when asked to reconsider the matter.
A.S. represents the students of FC – any action directly affecting their funding should be discussed with the A.S., which also deserves to be notified in advance of such action. Hodge only discussed two machines with Morse, but three were removed.
FC students should have a say in which and how man machines are in the arcade. As long as the configuration is legal and safe, administration should only suggest changes.
So far this semester, administration has been shifting responsibility for the action taken underhandedly without consent of the students.
While Jensen ordered the machines’ removal in an e-mail to A.S. advisor Denise Cork, Jensen said that she was instructed to do so by Hodge and Portolan.
In separate interviews, both Portolan and Hodge admitted to discussing the matter and agreeing that the two free-standing arcade machines needed to be removed, but neither one said that they had instructed to Jensen to do so.
Fullerton Fire Inspector Tom Thompson inspected the College Center arcade March 3 at the request of A.S. He said that the arcade room of the College Center could in fact support many more games, and the game cabinets could be free-standing, akin to the pool tables that are already there.
The arcade serves as the chief source of funds for the A.S. beyond what they are budgeted from the administration. The A.S. is in charge of the arcade, and uses it as a source for funding.
Money that is put into the machines is given back to FC by A.S., which provides campus departments with extra funding, and holds events such as Club Rush. Students have requested more arcade games via the A.S. suggestion box.
The A.S. should be allowed as many arcade games as can safely be placed in the arcade, which should be allowed to grow. “The A.S. hasn’t been able to articulate properly, and that’s our fault.” Morse said, “Dr. Hodge and I need to get together and talk this out.”
The problems with the games’ removal seems to be the result of miscommunication between A.S. and administration.
Talks between the two groups should result in an outcome that benefits both the student body and A.S. An expanded arcade would do so by providing a fun extracurricular activity and more funding for A.S.