Feb 11th, 2022, 02:05 PM

Students Return to Campus to find Beloved Amex Terrace Closed

By Luken McGuire
A sign is taped to an exterior facing glass door that explains the terrace is closed
Photo: Sophia Rose
Questions arise about why it was closed in the first place.

With cases of  COVID-19's Omicron variant rising globally, AUP has made the decision to close the Amex terrace despite the absence of French government guidelines causing many students to be confused.

Students say that this decision has made a negative impact on the AUP community. The Amex is an environment where students socialize, leaving transfer and study abroad students under inadequate circumstances to meet new people at AUP.

“Considering I am a visiting student, opportunities to meet other AUP students are reserved to orientation week and the classroom," said Angus Black, a visiting junior from Vanderbilt University. "From what I have gathered, the Amex was a hub of AUP student socialization and the fact that I am missing out on that is a big let down."

Video credit: Mehana Placeres

According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is far more likely to spread when indoors than in outdoor settings. Seeing as the newest omicron variant spreads more rapidly than past COVID-19 variants, closing the outdoor space doesn't seem to adhere to the guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus.

Although Amex staff have shown efforts to enforce mask mandates, most customers do not conform to these guidelines and are not held accountable .

"I think it's stupid...when indoors, there is still a lack of respect for the mask usage even when not consuming anything at Amex," said international and Comparative Politics major Johan Sebastian  Febres, a senior at AUP. "So there is no point in closing the terrace."

Image credit: Sofia Rose 

The courtyard is used as a smoking area for the students and faculty of AUP, as the trashcans are equipped with trays to dispose of cigarette butts, so that the cafe remains a cleanly environment for students. After smoking a cigarette, a large majority of the chemicals end up in the filter, and chemicals from one cigarette filter have enough pollution to soil around 500 liters of water.

With the Amex being closed, most go outside of the gates into the public streets to smoke their cigarettes. The collection of trash from these cigarettes gets thrown on the ground, further polluting the AUP community and school environment. 

"It seems nonsensical that the university would essentially force students to smoke outside of campus, where there is a lack of ashtrays and space in general. In doing so, they actively encouraging students to throw cigarettes on the street and contribute to the greater issue of pollution in Paris," said Jacob Rogers, a senior at AUP.

Image credit: Luken McGuire 

AUP administrative officials did not respond to a request for comment.