Despite the best efforts of the Library and Information Services staff, many students are still upset about the library construction for a host of reasons, some more valid than others. One reason that we haven’t seen in the public discussion, however, is the question of accessibility.
As of now, the only designated silent study space on campus is in Ascension Hall. While the modular units are as good as they can be considering that they are huge trailers placed temporarily on a lawn, none are designated quiet spaces like the library’s third floor once was.
A silent place to study may seem like a small thing, but it’s not. For many students, a silent place to study is paramount to the learning process.
When Florida Atlantic University in Fort Lauderdale conducted research on the impact of silence when studying, they found that without absolute silence some individuals were slowed in their process by 60 words an hour when writing.
The Kenyon website states that “Kenyon College is committed to supporting students with disabilities with reasonable academic and non-academic (programmatic) accommodatons,” and the ability to focus in a quiet space is entirely reasonable.
We all have to make sacrifices this year so that the new construction can take place. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a fact of life on the Hill. Hopefully, the West Quad will be able to justify the cost (both monetary and otherwise) of the construction.
But we cannot justify sacrifices that only affect groups already marginalized on a daily basis. Ascension will be made accessible in the future, but for now it is both inaccessible and home to the only silent study space on campus.
An individual’s ability to access the third floor of a building should not be a determining factor in the quality of one’s education.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Cameron Messinides ’19 and Devon Musgrave-Johnson ’19 managing editor Grant Miner ’19 and execuitive director Matt Mandel ’19. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.