Downtown students feel shut out of their education after Library and Rowdy Store Closure

UTSA announced the Rowdy Store at Downtown Campus would be closed from March 22 to Aug. 9.   

“During the closure, course materials for spring and summer classes held at the Downtown Campus will be available at the Main Campus Rowdy Campus Store (Student Union 1.02.02) or online, along with a wide selection of spirit gear and supplies,” UTSA announced.  

In addition, the Downtown campus library will be closed until Sept. 14. Students expressed feeling particularly upset about the library’s temporary closure. 

“I think a lot of students are struggling with online learning. It’s hard not having a separate environment for school and home,” said Alexis Chavez. “I feel like I would have benefited from having the library open both mentally and educationally.” 

What UTSA failed to mention was the Downtown Campus Rowdy Store wasn’t the only service that would be closing its doors until further notice: the Starbucks, gym, Rowdy Pantry and cafeteria are all closed. In fact, the Downtown Campus cafeteria is boarded up. The Monterey, which primarily serves the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, will also be closed for the remainder of 2021 because of air conditioning issues.

In 2018, UTSA formed a Downtown Campus task force. According to the UTSA Strategic Planning website, the mission of the task force was to “enable Downtown students to have a comprehensive living and learning experience, without the need to travel to the Main Campus.”

UTSA Downtown students not only felt the university failed to achieve this goal but also asserted that inequity between the two campuses had grown further since the decision was announced.

“We pay the same tuition yet Downtown students do not have the same experience as students on the main campus,” said Alexis Chavez, a junior Construction Science major. “Downtown students shouldn’t have to go across town to purchase their books. In what other university are students not able to purchase their books on the campus they attend? UTSA has failed the Downtown Campus community.” 

“Many students at UTSA rely on those resources for their studies,” said Jason Harari, a senior Criminal Justice major. “Every student’s tuition is of the same value and I am upset to hear that only those who attend the main campus will have the resources they pay for, deserve and require readily available. It speaks to the inequity between the two campuses and I hope that we can bring about an end to this type of thing. It is just another example of campus inequality issues at UTSA which make students feel disconnected and become uninvolved in student life at UTSA. We can do better and we demand that UTSA steps up and provides the resources necessary to reopen the downtown campus.”

Another Downtown campus student shared strong disdain for UTSA’s decision to shut down all services offered at the downtown campus. 

“The university has failed to understand the community the campus was intended to serve. The Downtown campus was created to serve the South, West, and East side communities,” said Sarah Larios, a Senior Public Administration student. “These are communities who are more likely to not have access to a gym, a quiet place to study, and may suffer from food insecurity. At minimum, the (downtown) rowdy pantry, rowdy bookstore, and library, should all be open as they serve as crucial resources to downtown students.”