Stranger Than Fiction: Wood Paneling Threatens University Of Michigan Students

Today’s college students are a rare breed. When I was at the University of Georgia, I focused on my studies and keeping my grades up enough to not lose my scholarships. These days, it seems like students only focus on what offends them.

The latest case involves the most bizarre aggression ever: wood paneling. That’s right, some students at the University of Michigan have made it known that they are “marginalized by quiet, imposing masculine paneling” in one of the school’s historic buildings.

The Michigan Union building, set to undergo a three-year, $85 million renovation, is the target of student outrage because Anna Wibbleman, the former president of an organization called Building A Better Michigan, which is dedicated to giving students a voice in building projects, shared concerns that the paneling marginalized some students, though she apparently offered no further explanation. The paneling is a prominent feature of the century-old structure and looks to remain prominent in the renderings of the renovated facilty.

Fortunately – and perhaps refreshingly – the school isn’t putting much stock into the complaints:

Asked to weigh in on Wibbelman’s comments, campus spokesman Rick Fitzgerald stated in an email to The College Fix that “concern about the paneling is not something that has been brought forward to the university as a concern from students, who have been involved with developing this project for several years and through dozens of meetings. Students certainly have expressed a desire that the renovation assures a welcoming, inviting, and student-oriented building. It is their building.”

“There is a significant presence of wood paneling on the interior of the building and we expect most, if not all of it, will remain after the renovation,” he said.

The current president of Building A Better Michigan claims that Wibbleman really meant that the quiet nature of the building was the issue more so than the actual materials in the structure itself. But whatever.

It’s nice to see an institution stand firm against such ridiculous assertions, rather than simply bowing to the weird whims of a few squeaky-wheel complainers. Hopefully, other schools will follow suit.

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Chris Queen

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