On the afternoon of Friday, July 5, 2019, two explosions rocked Argenta Hall at the University of Nevada, Reno, after a boiler in the basement suffered a malfunction. While it took place toward the end of the decade, it caused lasting effects that the university community will feel for the next few years.
The explosions caused major damage to both Argenta Hall and Nye Hall, which is connected to Argenta. According to the university, Argenta Hall would be unusable for two years and Nye Hall would be unusable for at least one year. With only 42 days to move-in day and 1,300 less beds than before, President Marc Johnson was approved by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents “…on an emergency basis…to enter into the necessary agreements to protect the health, safety, and welfare and secure housing, dining, and security and other necessary resources for UNR students for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years arising out of the July 5 incidents.”
The university announced they would be leasing Sky Tower of Circus Circus Resort and Casino to use in place of Argenta and Nye Halls. This became the first semi-permanent student housing complex in Downtown Reno, although some university students did live in Circus Circus hotel rooms temporarily in 2017 after the Identity student apartment complex experienced opening delays.
In addition to finding housing for 1,300 students, the university was tasked with finding dining accommodations for students with meal plans. All freshmen living on-campus—and in Wolf Pack Tower—are required to have a meal plan. To accommodate, the university first built Howler Village, a pop-up dining tent, and converted the Overlook into the Overlook Eatery, which was reminiscent of the Downunder Cafe. Slated to open this month is the Den, which will remain the dining center for students with meal plans indefinitely.
“Abolish ASUN” movement
Abolish ASUN—also going by the name Students for Liberty—was an ASUN funded club from about 2010 to 2013, with only a few members in the beginning. Their goals were to prove that the current student government was ineffective. The movement was sparked by an announcement that ASUN would raise the student fees included in tuition. Their demonstrations proved that the funds ASUN allocated were irresponsible. A rally the club hosted cost over $3,000.00. A third of that cost went to pizza alone. During the rally, the organization was able to obtain around 500 signatures in support of abolishing the student government.
Though this amount of people only accounted for around 15 percent of UNR’s population, the student fee increase legislation was not passed and the fee remained at the same rate per credit.The impact of Abolish ASUN is evident today. ASUN has become more transparent with where fees are allocated, created more presence at the university and fought for a louder student voice.
Marc Johnson steps down
President of the university Marc Johnson announced on Thursday, Oct. 31 he will be stepping down from his position and transitioning to faculty in the College of Business.
Johnson’s resignation has sparked conversation amongst the campus community over who will be taking over his position. The Nevada System of Higher Education announced on Thursday, Dec. 5 they have started a national search for who will be taking over the position.
In the time Johnson has been president the university has expanded southward and been given Carnegie R-1 research classification. Despite advances during Johnson’s presidency, there have been countless acts of white supremacy at the university, including swastikas being drawn in residence halls and the national demonstration of Peter Cetvonovic at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville.
Incidents of white nationalism
Within two years, the University of Nevada, Reno experienced a rise of white nationalist activity. Beginning in 2017, alum Peter Cetvonovic participated in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville with his organization Identity Evropa. In the same year, an unknown person painted a swastika in Church Fine Arts. A year later, swastikas were found in Peavine and Juniper Halls. In September, a white supremacy organization, the American Identity Movement, posted flyers across several buildings at the university. The president of the organization Patrick Casey confirmed they were trying to recruit members at the university. This year also saw an increase of swastikas with graffiti in Wolf Pack Tower, William Raggio building and more.
The Nevada Sagebrush end of the decade lists are made from staff contributions. Any of the writers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @VinceSagebrush.