With Founders now closing at 2 a.m. instead of being a 24-hour space, Knox students have no public space that is open all night. The library typically closes at 1 a.m. and most academic spaces are locked around or before midnight.
Access to a 24-hour study space is vital to college students who are busy with balancing their schoolwork, jobs, extracurriculars, social lives and personal health. While many might not want to admit to staying up late to finish their work, it is the only option for some students.
While Knox does have the Carl Sandburg Lounge, which is open at all times, the Lounge only has three computers, many of which do not have the programming that students might need for certain assignments or work. The space is also small and will surely not accommodate the students who usually stay in Founders for all hours during midterms and finals.
Students who are in classes for videography or photography need Mac computers with Adobe software in order to complete their work, and these computers are only found in Founders or in the Whitcomb Art Center. Whitcomb is also locked at a relatively early hour and many of its computer labs are locked during most hours of the day, so these computers are not always accessible.
Another common workspace for students—the CFA commons—is typically locked early as well, forcing many students to get there early and stay late. While Campus Safety is typically okay locking the doors with students in the building (so they can get out but nobody can come in) it seems odd that this space students are using nightly is perceived to be off-limits.
While we understand that Founders needs to have a lab assistant to be able to run all night, we are also unsure if one person’s check is worth causing students to have nowhere to go to work at night. With the Gizmo, library and more closing early, it’s unclear where they are expected to go to finish their work if they need to. We are not in a position to judge Knox’s financial situation, but it does seem that less importance is being placed on students.
We also would like the administration and ITS to be more clear with when these spaces will be open during reading days and finals. Will Founders be open 24 hours again? Will the library be open as late as usual?
Ensuring a 24-hour space for students on campus would give solace to those who must do their work late at night, especially those who do not have access to a laptop computer or printer in their dorms. While it may seem like a resource used by few, it is necessary for many students at Knox.