Fashion design students, faculty reach compromise over petition to extend Rockwell’s hours


Students work in Rockwell Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.

The university extended Rockwell Hall’s weekend hours after fashion design students petitioned for increased access to the building’s workspaces.  

Rockwell Hall, which houses the Fashion School, was previously open from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, said junior fashion design major Amanda Wildman. In November 2019, Wildman started a petition that asked the university to increase students’ access to Rockwell Hall to 24 hours a day.

The petition suggested this change be implemented through the use of student keycards. It also stated that increasing access to the studios would positively affect fashion design students’ mental health, give them more time to work on projects and allow greater flexibility to work around their schedules.   

Although Wildman’s name was on the petition, it was a collaboration between students in her studio class, she said. The petition gained several positive comments from other fashion design students and 671 supporters before it closed. 

“What kind of started the whole thing and what students were particularly upset about was the weekend hours,” Wildman said. “It was closing at eight on Saturdays and Sundays, so students that worked and got off late weren’t able to use the weekend, which should be their time to catch up on schoolwork, to do so because they didn’t have access to the studios.” 

Shortly after the petition was created, Wildman met with Louise Valentine, director of the Fashion School, John Crawford-Spinelli, dean of the College of the Arts and William Hauck, undergraduate program coordinator and assistant professor for the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, to discuss the issue. During the meeting, they reached a compromise to extend weekend hours at Rockwell Hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

“Past issues they have had with having late hours or 24-hour access were with different acts of vandalism, community members wandering in and making students feel unsafe or things being stolen,” Wildman said. “In the current situation, it wasn’t possible with the liability, with how much the equipment is worth.”

Although access to Rockwell was not changed to 24 hours a day, the extension serves as a good first step for future changes, Wildman wrote in the petition.  

KentWired previously reported that a plan to budget for 24-hour access to Rockwell Hall or create a 24-hour space elsewhere was being kept in mind by those within the Fashion School. Additionally, as Rockwell undergoes renovations as part of Phase I of the Master Plan, students’ desire for more access to the studios is being considered, Wildman said. 

Contact Abigail Mack at [email protected]