“We refuse move! Delay the eviction until the COVID-19 outbreak is over!” Several members of the UGM Student Activity Unit (UKM) protested on their respective Instagram stories in April 2020. The action was a form of protest from UKM members against the transfer of UKM goods which was not conducted in proper communication.
According to Satriya Umbu, Chairman of UGM UKM Communication Forum (Forkom) for the 2020 period, UGM Student Affairs Directorate (Ditmawa) workers suddenly moved UKM goods without involving any UKM members. Not only that, some items were even lost in the process. So far, Ditmawa has not replaced the lost items, even though they have been reported.
“Actually, the Directorate of Assets and Planning has informed about the plan to empty the Gelanggang Mahasiswa,” said Umbu. He said that the plan to empty the Gelanggang Mahasiswa coincided with the renovation agenda of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa. However, at the end of February 2020, UGM proposed entry restriction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many UKM members returned back to their respective home outside of Yogyakarta. As a result, said Umbu, the transfer of UKM goods is difficult.
During the pandemic, the Gelanggang Mahasiswa turned into a volunteer post for handling COVID-19 impacts, called Gelanggang Bergerak. It was the Gadjah Mada Alumni Family (Kagama) Gelanggang and students who initiated the establishment of the post.
Umbu stated that the transfer of the function of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa could delay the transfer of UKM goods until conditions were more conducive. However, in reality, as Umbu said, the transfer of the goods still occurred. “In fact, the transfer took place without the involvement of the UKMs concerned,” said Umbu.
“The forced transfer of UKM goods during the pandemic shows the university’s lack of sense of crisis,” said Maheswara Nusantoro, Member of the UGM Student Trustee Council (MWA UM). According to male who is familiarly called Hesa, the forced transfer is an implication of the lack of dialogue between the university and the users of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa. He also revealed that the dialogue between the university and the Gelanggang Mahasiswa users regarding the renovation agenda of the new Gelanggang Mahasiswa occurred twice.
The first dialogue took place between Forkom UKM, MWA UM, and the Planning Directorate of UGM in early February. From that dialogue, the Gelanggang Mahasiswa received socialization of the design for the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa from the Planning Directorate. The second dialogue took place between the university and the Gelanggang Mahasiswa users on February 19, 2020. In the dialogue, MWA UM proposed to the Chancellor to hold a coordination meeting so that student aspirations can be implemented in the Gelanggang Mahasiswa renovation plan. However, up until now, the university has not followed up on the proposal.
According to Hesa, the dialogue that has only occurred twice has not maximized student participation in planning for the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa. As a result, as stated by Hesa, the needs of students regarding the Gelanggang Mahasiswa are not being met. “One of the unmet needs of students in the renovation design of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa is space for secretariat,” said Hesa.
In line with Hesa, Rahman Hidajat as the Board of Trustees of Kagama Gelanggang Mahasiswa also revealed that the university lacks dialogue with Gelanggang Mahasiswa users, in this case Kagama Gelanggang Mahasiswa. The man who is familiarly called Cak Man said that the university had never had a dialogue with the Kagama Gelanggang Mahasiswa to draw up plans for the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa. As a result, said Cak Man, the renovation design of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa eliminated an important element, namely the secretariat.
The secretariat at the Gelanggang Mahasiswa will be replaced by a co-working space. Based on the renovation design of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa, the co-working space is an open space that eliminates barriers between spaces, unlike the secretariat. According to Cak Man, the secretariat is important because the focus of UKMs is not only to hone talent, but also to train organizational skills. “In the Gelanggang Mahasiswa, we don’t just practice, but also expand our network with other students across faculties,” said Cak Man.
Agreeing with Cak Man, Umbu also revealed that the role of the secretariat in the Gelanggang Mahasiswa is very important. According to him, there are several types of work for UKMs that cannot be done in the open. Some of these jobs, among others, are the procurement of internal organizational meetings, storage of valuables, archive storage, and so on.
However, he also believes that the Gelanggang Mahasiswa needs an open space. Because, according to him, so far, UKM members have always complained about the lack of open space in the Gelanggang Mahasiswa to hold large-scale meeting activities. “So, in the renovation, if possible both are available, both a secretariat and a co-working space, instead of eliminating one of the other”, assert Umbu.
Following up on this, on April 25, 2020, the university and the Gelanggang Mahasiswa held a dialogue again. In the dialogue, the Gelanggang Mahasiswa presented several proposals related to the renovation of the Gelanggang mahasiswa. In addition, the Gelanggang Mahasiswa also submitted a request to the university leadership to involve students in the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa through a proper and good communication.
Putut Ariwibowo as Chair of the Kagama Gelanggang Mahasiswa also made a suggestion in the dialogue. According to Putut, the university must also involve the community in the Gelanggang Mahasiswa in the process of renovating the Gelanggang Mahasiswa. However, until now, poor communication between the university and the Gelanggang Mahasiswa still persist. “In fact, because of poor communication, the Gelanggang Mahasiswa hall, which should not have been demolished, was actually demolished,” said Hesa.
According to Umbu, good communication is the key so that the interests of all parties related to the renovation can be accommodated. Umbu then mentioned that the development at the CIMB Niaga Digital Lounge at the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) UGM was not accompanied by good communication. The FEB dean does not involve students significantly in the process. As a result, the secretariat of the organization was turned into a co-working space such as planning at the Gelanggang Mahasiswa.
Muhammad Fuadi Najiyulloh, Chair of the 2020 FEB UGM Student Executive Board, revealed that the dean of FEB UGM only contacted students for dialogue when the development contract had been signed. The construction of the CIMB Niaga digital lounge itself was inaugurated on February 17, 2020. In fact, the development issue has emerged since 2017. “More or less the case is almost the same as in the Gelanggang Mahasiswa, the difference is that the organization’s belongings are moved by members of the organization themselves,” said Fuad .
Unclearness of Responsibility
Responding to the lack of socialization regarding the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa, the BALAIRUNG team tried to contact representative from the university. Budi Prayitno, as the Planning Director of UGM, said that the Chair of the UGM MWA, Pratikno, is the party who has the right to make various decisions regarding the renovation agenda of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa. However, when contacted, Pratikno actually revealed that he was not in charge of the matter. “That’s the rector’s business,” said Pratikno via WhatsApp message. Pratikno then asked us to interview the Planning Director of UGM, Budi Prayitno.
Budi then said that the funding plan for the Gelanggang Mahasiswa renovation had undergone several changes. In 2018, the Tahir Foundation plans to fund the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa. However, in 2020, the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) of the Republic of Indonesia replaced the Tahir Foundation in regards of funding the renovation.
According to Umbu, the PUPR Ministry funded the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa using the Indonesian State Budget (APBN). Budi also confirmed Umbu’s statement. “It’s true, the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa in the future will indeed use APBN funds,” said Budi when interviewed in November 2020.
Budi also said that he had been the architect of the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa. As a designer of the project, Budi has explained the design for the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa to the Minister of PUPR, Basuki Hadimuljono, and Pratikno. In addition, he has also disseminated the designs he made to UGM UKM members and supervisors.
“Now that I am no longer an architect in the renovation plan, the renovation design of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa has changed again,” said Budi. According to him, one of the crucial changes in the latest design is the presence of a partition in the co-working space that can be adapted to the needs of students. In contrast to Budi’s design, a co-working space without dividers.
Budi then said that Ditmawa was the party that took care of the socialization of the latest Gelanggang Mahasiswa renovation design. However, UGM Director of Student Affairs, Suharyadi, actually said that Ditmawa did not deal with matters related to the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa, including the socialization of the latest designs. “The decision regarding the renovation rests with the Planning Directorate, not the Ditmawa,” which was his response via WhatsApp message.
Responding to the various uncertainties in the renovation of the Gelanggang Mahasiswa, Hesa hoped that the policies related to the renovation could change to better accommodate the interests of students. Because, when the renovation is complete, it is the students who will directly feel the impact of these policies. “To achieve all of that, we can start by building a good and fair communication between students and the university,” concluded Hesa.
Author: Bangkit Adhi Wiguna
Editor: Deatry Kharisma Karim
Illustrator: Zufar Marsa Elmy
Translator: Affan Asyraf
 Gelanggang Mahasiswa refers to the main building of student center in Gadjah Mada University