Section: News

Campus lacks 24-hour study spaces

Campus lacks 24-hour study spaces

By Regan Hewitt

Since the start of the current academic year, Gund Commons, which was traditionally open 24 hours a day, now closes at midnight. With that common space gone, Kenyon now lacks 24-hour workspaces beside residential buildings and Peirce Hall.

“It’s college,” Rebecca Saltzman ’15 said. “People are going to stay up late, and I do think it would make sense if the College had a place for us to work when the rest of the town shuts down.”

On Monday through Thursday nights, all academic buildings on campus are closed by 2 a.m., with the exception of Peirce Hall. The Olin-Chalmers Memorial Library closes at 9 p.m. on Fridays and midnight on Saturdays. This lack of late-night study spaces can make it hard for students to complete their work, especially those who are often actively engaged in other activities — as well as classes — during the day.

Generally, students’ understanding of why the library closes when it does is murky. Some students agree that the library should not be open 24 hours, because as Saltzman said, “people would have to work night shifts for this to happen and at such a small school, it’s not really feasible.”

Although the library is a popular study space, its hours of operation do present some difficulties. However, Associate Vice President for LBIS and Library Director Amy Badertscher believes that the hours are fair. “Right now, the gate counts [the number of people who enter the gates at the library at a certain time] do not warrant longer hours for the library,” Badertscher wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The library building does not offer, in the current physical arrangement, much flexibility to create a gate 24-hour space. There are other places, like Peirce, that are available longer hours.”

“Even if the library was open later, I’d still leave at the same time,” Amy Shirer ’18 said. “I know the campus is safe, but I don’t like walking home alone at night.”

Although the student body has been aware of the closing hours of the library, the change in hours at Gund Commons occured only this year. “I was a little surprised when they closed Gund,” Saltzman said. “Are they trying to encourage us to manage our time better?”

According to Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman, the past semesters have seen an increase in vandalism incidents in Gund Commons. “Due to these incidents, we made the decision to secure the building after hours,” said Kohlman. He also specified that cost of operations was not an reason for the closure.

With the loss of Gund Commons as a nighttime workspace, many North dwellers expressed the desire to have a 24-hour study space on North Campus. “I don’t like that I have to go to South Campus just because I want to study or print something late at night,” Paige Ballard ’18, a McBride Residence Hall resident, said.

“I feel like there are 24-hour study spaces, because in my dorm, there are study carrels in my hall,” Meredith Heckler ’18, who lives in Gund Residence Hall, said. Gund is the only residence hall that has a study room with cubicles.

Several students expressed discontent with working in their own rooms, or even inside a dorm building itself, due to the temptation that they may fall asleep or get distracted by their hallmates. “The library provides a quiet space, which is what I think a lot of students need in order to do their work,” Shirer said.

President Sean Decatur acknowledged the limited study spaces in residence halls. “It’s clear that we need to do something with our first- and second-year residence halls,” Decatur said. “I think this an opportunity for us to ask the question, Do we want to renovate them as they are now? … Or do we also want to take advantage of this opportunity to ask the question, What types of community spaces are most welcome and needed in residence halls?”

Until such renovations to residence halls are made, students working through the late hours of the night face a difficult task in finding a space on campus that stays open until they finish their work.

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