Sanderson Soldiers are prisoners of West Chester University in their own dormitory. One night, sometime after 11 p.m., I had left my dorm room so that my roommate could go to bed while I went to the study lounge to finish up some homework. I walked down the hall to the study lounge to find the door locked, yet again.My friend had explained to me that the study lounges are to be locked from now on and, in order to use them, we have to rent a key out. I checked out the rule sheet to get the whole scope. The rules are written as follows:
1) Effective immediately, in order to utilize this resource in the residence hall, Sanderson Hall residents must check out a key from the front desk as the study lounges will remain locked. The Sanderson Hall resident who checks out the key to this lounge is ultimately responsible for the condition of this lounge. It is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED that the resident assigned the key to this (specific) lounge LOCK this door when out of the lounge.
2) In checking out the key for the lounge, the resident must return the key to the front desk by noon the following day (at the latest), which means it is possible for that student to have possession of the key and utilize this (specific) lounge overnight for STUDY PURPOSES only.
3) Regardless of the day of the week, this lounge must be used for study purposes during Quiet Hours. Quiet Hours are in effect 10:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday AND 12:00 midnight to 10:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
4) The lounges on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th floors in Sanderson Hall may be used for socializing between the hours of 12 noon – 6 p.m. each day (excluding finals period). During those hours, the noise level in the lounge must still be contained within the lounge with the door closed.
5) All furniture in this lounge must remain here. It is intended for the use of Sanderson Hall residents and their guests.
6) Residents share the responsibility of keeping the lounge clean. Be sure to take all of your belongings with you when you leave the lounge.
The only time a key to a lounge is accessible is while the front desk is open. The desk times are Monday to Thursday 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday the desk is open 10:00 a.m. until 12 midnight. Sundays the desk is only open from 2 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. In order to use the study lounge, the key has to be taken out before 10 p.m. during the week.
If I am going to use a study lounge, I usually do not know if I will need to use it before 10 p.m. It is usually later on in the night, depending on how much work I have to do, when I do not want to go to bed yet, as well as a number of other reasons.
If the lounges are going to be continuously locked, then I suggest that when the desk closes at night, then the keys to the study lounges should be given to the security guards. The guards are in the front lobby from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. Then the guard, before leaving, can put any of the keys to the lounges back in the office of the front desk area. The main difference would be that residents could have access to the keys later than 10 p.m.
There is only one key per study lounge. This is a major flaw because, first of all, only one person can open the lounge. Second of all, if someone borrows the key for the night and decides not to use the study lounge, then the lounge will not be open for use for the others who may need it.
This leads to the next problem: if someone whom does not posse key plans on using the study lounge longer than the person with the key, then there is a conflict of interest. The person with the key has to return the key in the morning to the desk. Since the key is rented out in their name, the condition of the study lounge is their responsibility.
Condoms left from the night before are the main reason for locking the lounges. I agree that the study lounges are to be used for studying purposes only. However, this change in locking the lounges makes it easier to have sex in the lounges. All they have to do is sign out a key, lock the door behind them and enjoy their privacy because everyone else is locked out.
Just like the other times that the study lounges were locked, residents have to find another place to do work when their dorm room is not available. Some may push their work off until the following day with the lack of a comfortable place to complete work.
Tough luck for those who need to finish last minute work or to study more for that early morning test. I have been the person to sit in the hall and do work, and have seen a number of others do so as well. Students, myself included, have gone down to the front or back lobby to do schoolwork late in the night or in the very early hours of the new day. It can be distracting to do work while others in the lobby are watching television, playing games, socializing or talking on the phone.
All of these examples were not a problem once the study lounges opened. All of these examples became a problem again once the study lounges were locked. Holding keys to open the lounges seems like a reasonable way to minimize any problems occurring inside the lounges, but it affects the people that use them the most.
The lock-out seems like a cruel kiddy punishment to the Sanderson Soldiers that are innocent. There are just a few short weeks left at school, but we are all still here long enough to need these resources that should be fully available to us. Maybe next year’s Soldiers will have better luck fighting this battle that is not over yet and win the full time use of the study lounges.
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a first year student majoring in English. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.