New hours help Barsema Hall

By Taylor Gaines

DeKALB — The new hours being enforced at Barsema Hall have been deemed adjustable, Michelle DeJean, College of Business director of marketing, said.

On Jan. 14, the building began locking at 10 p.m. for non-business majors and 1 a.m. for business majors, said Patricia Myers, Barsema Hall Dean’s Office manager. Non-business majors will not have access after 10 p.m. The building was unlocked 24 hours a day before this semester.

Because Barsema Hall is not a state building, business students are able to remain in the building after 1 a.m., although re-entry is not permitted, said Luke Finnan, Barsema Hall facility manager. Rather than being built with state funding, Barsema Hall was presented as a gift to NIU by Trustee Dennis Barsema and his wife Stacey in 2002.

Issues involving moved furniture and damaged property have become evident since the building opened, which led to the newly enforced hours, Finnan said.

These problems began to interfere with incoming company representatives who wished to interact with students in the College of Business, DeJean said.

“Tables, chairs and bench seating [were] being moved overnight into the hallways and walk areas on the atrium level, creating a safety concern,” DeJean said.

Students obtaining a minor, certificate, or taking a course in Barsema can request the same access as business majors at any point in the semester by visiting the Dean’s Office, Myers said.

Business majors are required to swipe their OneCards on a proximity card reader at the building’s front doors to enter between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. The locks track who accesses the building, Myers said.

“The proximity locks and Barsema Hall video surveillance system provide a safe and secure environment for after-hour building use,” Myers said.

Some students perceived Barsema Hall as an open building with Wi-Fi and did not understand the value it holds to employees and students in the College of Business, Finnan said.

Senior marketing major Louis Zmich said Barsema is “a home away from home,” and it hurts to know people were taking advantage of something he uses every day.

“None of that reflects the culture and intention of the building,” Zmich said.

The impact of the new hours will be monitored throughout the semester, DeJean said.

“Since this is only [early on in] the semester, it is too early to draw many conclusions from the new building hours, but we have seen that the building has been left in better order with more limited access to it overnight,” Myers said.

Taylor Gaines is a staff writer. She can be reached at [email protected].