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The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Segal directors respond to student allegations on unsafe working environment

Daily file photo by Ava Mandoli
Segal Design Institute directors announced Wednesday new measures for institute accountability in response to student concerns about the Segal Shop.

Segal Design Institute directors Greg Holderfield, Prof. Kim Hoffmann and Prof. Michael Peshkin announced new mechanisms for institute accountability and feedback Wednesday following reports of problematic behavior in the Segal workshop.

The statement, which addresses Segal staff, students and faculty, came after the directors received “a number of communications regarding student concerns with the Segal shop” at the end of Winter Quarter.

According to the email, the CTECs — the University’s course and teacher evaluation tool — for design classes will now feature “Educational Environment” questions. Responses to these questions will go directly to the directors.

“We take the issues raised very seriously,” the directors wrote. “It is our highest priority to ensure that our design, prototyping and making experiences are positive for all students. We want to thank the involved students and alumni; it isn’t easy to start these conversations.” 

Students have also made their concerns known via online platforms. One petition started Feb. 25 and titled “Students Demand Accountability from Segal Shop Professionals” has garnered over 110 signatures from students and alumni.

“Some of the shop staff have forgotten they work in a teaching environment,” wrote the petitioners, who identified themselves as five McCormick School of Engineering upperclassmen. “We do not deserve to be treated the way we have for asking for help.”

Among the demands was a request that Segal institute a CTECs system for shop staff. According to the petition, doing so would increase accountability and improve feedback measures.

“We hold the Segal faculty, staff, prototyping specialists, student trainers and instructors in high regard and appreciate every day their dedication to making design a highlight of the Northwestern experience, for everyone,” the directors said in Wednesday’s statement. “Where we fall short, we want to hear about it.”

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Twitter: @beatricedvilla

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