Students protest Lot 22 removal during formal Board of Trustees meeting


Students protest to save parking lot 22 from becoming new housing Thursday, Feb. 17 outside the Bovee University Center. 

A couple of students gathered outside of the Bovee University Center to protest the removal of Lot 22 during the formal Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 17.

Genesee County senior Hannah Hendley, who organized the protest, said she wished the university told the student body about the project sooner.

On Feb. 14, Hendley created a petition against the project that gained popularity on social media. She decided to organize the protest after learning the project would be discussed at the Board of Trustees meeting.

“I just hope that the Board of Trustees and university take into account our opinions,” Hendley said. “I hope that they veto it or whatever, and maybe put more thought into it.”

As of Feb. 17, Hendley’s petition reached 1,298 signatures.

The protest took place during the 11 a.m. Board of Trustees meeting in which it discussed  moving forward with the design for the Washington Commons, which if approved, will be built where Lot 22 is currently.

Since her freshman year in 2018, Hendley said she has seen prices for parking permits and meters increase while enrollment has only decreased. Because of this, she said she does not see a reason for the university to spend money on new housing and removing a parking lot. 

“That frustrates me,” she said. “I know I won't be here next year, but there's going to be other people who are here that will still want to use (Lot 22).”

Interim Provost Richard Rothaus (left) talks with protesters Olivia Ammerman (middle) and Paige Pant (right) Thursday, Feb. 17 outside the Bovee University Center. 

In passing by, Interim Provost Richard Rothaus spoke to students protesting. He said the final decision for the construction project will be made in April after multiple listening sessions with the public. 

“There was not clear communication on this,” Rothaus said. “We're going to town halls, so people can come in and ask all the questions they can and we'll give them the very best answers we can.”

Heartland sophomore Emily Bredin attended the protest. She said she appreciated being acknowledged by administrators at CMU like Rothaus and plans on attending the town hall meetings.

“I hope that town halls are going to be influential," Bredin said. “I'm hoping that we can actually have an impact and a voice in those meetings.”