Poor ventilation shuts down Campus Current newsroom


Gerald Maravanyika

Campus Current staff members sit in their newsroom to watch as the college’s vice presidents explain their plan to shut down the campus in March 2020. The student journalists lost the newsroom, located in the Humanities building, to a ventilation issue this semester.

Dominic Salacki, Editor-in-Chief

The student newspaper’s newsroom in the Humanities building closed this semester after officials apparently discovered a ventilation issue.

Campus Current’s student editors, reporters, photographers and graphic designers are temporarily working down the hall from the newsroom in the office of the newspaper’s faculty adviser, Sharon O’Malley. The staff is conducting some of its meetings via Zoom.

It is unclear when the award-winning newspaper will move into a new office. O’Malley said she has requested a larger space to accommodate the staff’s growing need to create videos and other multimedia elements for the newspaper’s digital edition.

According to Melissa Beardmore, vice president for learning resources management, air quality tests in the Humanities building showed the newspaper office in Room 206 does not have proper ventilation. It is the only room in the building that officials have closed.

“It has to do within the walls where you might have a vent to take the air in, to put it through the air conditioner and [through] another vent to put the air back into the room,” Beardmore said. “It’s how you get air and heat into your rooms and [the newsroom] doesn’t have in and out air.”

Paul Cortese, a third-year culinary student, has taken classes in the Humanities building down the hall from Room 206 and said the newsroom’s ventilation issue “seems consistent with the age of the campus.”

Liberal Arts Dean Alicia Morse, who oversees the college’s journalism program, said the ventilation issue is “probably fixable” but might cost more than the college can spend.

“It has to do with resources and whether or not [AACC officials] want to use resources to fix that space or find a more suitable space where the problem doesn’t exist,” Morse said.

Beardmore said the college might use the empty newsroom for storage. Ventilation “doesn’t matter if it’s storage,” she said.

Student Government Association President Ben Nussbaumer called the ventilation problem “unfortunate” and said he hopes Campus Current gets another newsroom soon.

“I think having a campus newspaper is very important to campus life and culture, even though we’re not a four-year college where you would live there,” Nussbaumer, a third-year general education student, said. “I think even being able to go to [the newspaper’s website] in your break time [and] read up on what’s going [on] around the campus is very important to the sense of community that you get with college life.”

Campus Current, which temporarily suspended publication of its monthly print newspaper when the campus closed because of the pandemic in March 2020, never stopped publishing its digital edition at TheCampusCurrent.com. In addition, the staff publishes Campus Weekly, a summary of each week’s Campus Current stories, every Friday via email.