Students full-time but library isn't

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A fraternity house, a dorm with frequent parties or a duplex with a rowdy bunch of roommates is not the most desirable late-night study environment. Students often roam around campus at night, trying to find the most comfortable and least-distracting places to study.

While some buildings are open to studying students all hours of the day, places like the Julian Science and Mathematics Center and Emison Art Center are locked after specific hours to the majority of, if not all, students. And while students can get in to some of these buildings after hours, swipe-card access is only allowed for certain groups of students, such as chemistry majors or honor scholars.

But more importantly, our presumably central and most-accessible study space, Roy O. West Library, isn't even available to students 24 hours.

So, you are in the middle of an all-nighter in Roy O. and hear that dreadful pre-closing announcement on the intercom at 1:50 a.m. on a weeknight. What do you do? Think about Plan B and relocate.

And when you're trying to get ahead on a research paper on a Friday night, and you're kicked out of Roy O. at 10 p.m.? It seems as if the university is tempting you to go party instead of focusing on your schoolwork. With our weeknight schedules filled up in the style of DePauw, some of us treasure the odd night where a 4 a.m. bender won't interfere with our 9:20 a.m. class.

At many universities across the nation, the lack of an available place to study at any hour of the day is unheard of. For this reason, we are proposing a very simple solution: allow Roy O. to be open to every student on campus, 24/7.

Safety in the library would perhaps the largest concern of the DePauw community if a 24-hour policy were set. However, if students — and that's all students, not just those of a specific major — could only unlock the doors with their swipe cards, unwanted visitors wouldn't creep into study territory.

While we appreciate the research help that resource librarians and staff offer us, in the wee hours of the night, we mostly want isolation and internet access. But if work-study students or Greencastle residents were looking for extra hours (who isn't?), it could potentially be a win-win situation.

Not only do the logistics of this proposition make sense, but so do the educational benefits. The availability of study spaces must mirror the level of seriousness of academic life at DePauw. Right now, it doesn't.

Write to the editorial board at eboard@thedepauw.com