WatSFiC left out in the cold

17:32 Jan 31, 2013 · News · By Caz Spidell

Caz Spidell

Venerable club removed from space, faces difficulty storing and accessing collection

The second oldest club at the University of Waterloo is struggling to cope after being removed from their library space in the Student Life Centre. Late in the 2012 winter term, Feds evicted WatSFiC from room 0137B in the basement of the SLC. The sci-fi, fantasy, and games club — responsible for Dungeons & Dragons tournaments and the massive Humans versus Zombies live action role playing game on campus — WatSFiC, was using the space to house their library. The library is a large collection of sci-fi and fantasy literature, and textual resources for role-playing games, once used daily by students. Now the club is having great difficulties moving the collection, which is split between three members’ houses and a closet in the SLC.

The collection is extensive, featuring thousands of books and periodicals — some dating back to before the existence of the university. Much of the media in the library is out of print and some of it is quite rare. It’s currently wedged into shelves, basements, and a garage belonging to various members of the club, all of whom live in Kitchener. The remaining portion of the library is stored in a closet inside the SLC prayer room. The closet is locked, and the only key is held by a full-time Feds employee. The club only has access to the employee — and said key — during standard office hours. During standard office hours the prayer room is being used by students, rendering WatSFiC’s material virtually inaccessible.

This is the third time in less than five years that WatSFiC has been forced to move their library. Originally upstairs among Feds offices in the SLC, they were then moved to a smaller office to make room for a conference space. Not long after, the library was once again shifted, this time to the SLC’s basement near the Feds bookstore. After being evicted from that space in favour of a Feds marketing office, WatSFiC was told that Feds would no longer accommodate the library. WatSFiC has complained that in previous moves, some of their material suffered water damage while in Feds’ care.

Feds has argued that providing space to WatSFiC is unfair to other clubs, as VP Internal Alexandra Russell corroborated in an Imprint interview last week. WatSFiC has been working with other clubs, including the Club That Really Likes Anime (CTRL-A) and the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), to develop a multi-club library. The proposal was rejected by Feds.

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