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After Red Gym controversy, Sellery emerges as likely Amazon pickup point location

The number of sexual assaults reported to a campus resource at UW-Madison rose from 217 reports in 2015 to 325 in 2016. Half of the reports, 36 of them, with known locations occurred on campus; of those, 15 occurred in residence halls.

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Following pushback from students, faculty and alumni last semester about the Red Gym as an Amazon pickup point location, UW-Madison students will likely be picking up their packages from Sellery Residence Hall.

The new Amazon pickup location will tentatively be Sellery Residence Hall near the bike racks outside of Gordon Dining Hall, according to Omer Arain, chair of the Associated Students of Madison’s Shared Governance Committee.

“In terms of location, I think it’s certainly more preferable for everyone involved compared to the Red Gym,” Arain said. “It’s closer to dorms and generates more traffic.”

The UW System Board of Regents approved the five-year contract with Amazon in August, but said that due to time constraints, the board did not consult any shared governance groups.

The initial pickup location was the Red Gym, which houses the LGBT Campus Center, Multicultural Student Center and other student groups. Shared governance groups wanted to change the proposed location due to the sizable leasing space Amazon would use and the concerns over corporate operations in campus safe spaces.

“I do hold some reservation, not enough to oppose the deal, with a private company being able to utilize and attach itself to a public institution,” Arain said. “But at the same time, they will be hiring students. It brings revenue to the university and will reduce the shipping demands for housing.”

Arain said the corporate worry alone would be “a tough sell” to the university to back out. UW-Madison and Amazon are structuring their deal so the university makes at least $100,000 per year and pickup point employees would be paid campus’ minimum wage of $9, Amazon representatives have said.

Shared Governance viewed Amazon’s video at their meeting Tuesday night, which explains the online ordering process. Students can select the pickup point as their shipping address and will receive a locker code. When they go to pick up their packages, students use their online code to open the locker and grab their package.

Amazon’s pickup point allows students to have the benefit of privacy with the lockers. The video shows the main character getting his packages stolen by co-workers and a roommate before he decides to ship his purchases to the pickup point.

Amazon and UW-Madison hope to begin pickup point construction this summer, Arain said.

UPDATE Feb.28, 7:55 p.m.: This article was updated to include additional information from a Shared Governance meeting.

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