Tours for prospective students on Stony Brook University’s campus have interfered with some current students’ personal space at the Staller Center for the Arts.
Junior theater major Christopher Stratis was hanging lights in one of the Staller Center’s
theaters to prepare for a matinée show when stragglers from a tour group wandered in.
They pulled at the doors, causing a commotion. The show went on, but Stratis was
not over it.
“I’ve spoke to several tour guides and told them not to come through this hallway,” Stratis
said, “but I think there’s a lack of communication between the theater department and Student Affairs.”
As part of the tour, tour guides lead prospective students and their families through Staller’s theater center. The Staller Center’s lobby is a wide-open space for the group to stand in while the tour guide speaks. Sometimes these families wander.
Alan Inkles, the director of the Staller Center, had only recently gotten a phone call about students’ complaints. Inkles guessed the issue could be attributed to a number of things.
“It may be an issue of sound…it may just be isolated incidents,” he said. Inkles agreed that disruption of ongoing classes in the Staller Center would be an issue, but does not mind where the tours in the Staller Center go. He wants visitors to have a good impression, admitting, “Sometimes I’ll jump in—we talk with them and talk about all of the shows here and students’ opportunities for free tickets.
“The last thing we want is potential incoming students to be negatively influenced in any way,” he said.
Senior Meghan Ames, a theater major student, said, “I have no problem with tours in Staller, just not where classes are going on.” In one incident, Ames was rehearsing her lines in the Staller Center lobby when a parent stopped the tour guide to yell at and shush Ames. She approached the tour guide afterward but said the tour guide seemed “powerless.”
Now she is taking action.
“We’re getting a group of students together to put in a formal complaint,” she said. “We want to say that we’re not just kids who are pissed off. We are adults, and this is a serious problem.”
Director of the Campus Tour Program and Assistant Director of Admissions Lyle Wind could not be reached for comment.