Typically when classes are in session, the PODS of Glenn G. Bartle Library are a place of hustle and bustle. On weekends, it becomes slightly less busy, but Bartle Library still attracts its fair share of studious students. But during finals week, and even during the week prior, the traffic of people entering and leaving the library becomes grossly exaggerated.
Students must strive to complete projects and meet paper deadlines. Often they exhaust themselves studying for exams that will count substantially toward their final grade and it is not atypical for one to see empty containers of Red Bull or Monster lying around.
One thing that I have frequently noticed in my eight semesters as a Binghamton University student is just how difficult it is to find an available computer during the weeks of class and prior to finals week. It is normal for me enter the PODS during this time and have to take several laps before I find an available computer. I often must leave the PODS and search elsewhere to find one.
A problem that I have continuously found, however, is not so much that there are a limited number of computers available for students in the PODS, but that there are too many students who are not using their seized computer as they should be, browsing Facebook or some other non-academic website without any intention of stopping. I often see bags and other loose articles around many computers, but no actual student at the computer.
Now, I’m not suggesting that if the University wishes to demonstrate that it is rigorously committed to academic integrity that it must train its librarians to act like the Gestapo. Heaven forbid!
Instead I am suggesting that a particular computer etiquette be established and agreed upon among students so that the pain and anguish that has been felt by the college student who must painstakingly wander throughout the library trying to find a computer — like a child unable to find his home — may be limited. For the sake of justice, something must be done.
Now, how this might be done? When students use one of the PODS computers, we might say that the computer is “temporarily seized.” When no student is using a PODS computer we might say it is “temporarily seizable.”
To rectify the abuse that has resulted from a misuse of computers, as I characterize the behavior of those students who have been away from their computers for a more than reasonable amount of time, the Student Assembly ought to limit the amount of time that students may reasonably be away from their PODS computer before it can obtain the status of “temporarily seizable.”
Students would not be permitted to violate the property of other students whose property was still at the computer now labeled “temporarily seizable.” They would still be required to be reasonably respectful and conscious of the property that remains.
I must admit there are countless other difficulties to instating this procedure. But at the very least, I hope that it got you to recognize that there are practical problems, normative questions and subtle considerations in all walks of life — even in the most mundane circumstance, like in the PODS.
Though this shall be my final column for Pipe Dream, this was perhaps the aim each time I wrote. I enjoyed having an audience who hopefully read my opinions, and I have enjoyed sharing my voice.