by BRITTANY SEEMUTH
Two years ago, Mount Mary University security put into place an after-hours policy, eliminating student access to classrooms after midnight. With the policy now in full effect, some students are left without access to the resources needed to complete assignments.According to Paul Leshok, director of public safety, there are some exceptions to this after-hours policy.“At the end of each semester, specifically the week before final exams, we allow students to use labs and other project rooms 24 hours,” Leshok said. “If a student has an assigned numbered key to a specific computer lab, it also can be used 24/7.”
Leshok said the policy was an internal public safety procedure and isn’t available to view online or in print.
Outside of the fashion lab on the fourth floor of Notre Dame Hall, however, a neon orange sign reads, “Everyone works better after a good night’s sleep. All fashion department labs close at midnight.”
Senior fashion design major, Emily Ristow, said students, especially in arts and design, need access to resources that they cannot easily get elsewhere.
“The fashion computer labs have the Adobe programs we need for the majority of our assignments,” Ristow said. “The sewing lab not only gives us access to the sewing machines we need, it is where we store our supplies and the projects we are working on. … [the policy] doesn’t give students enough time to access these resources.”
Michelle Dabel, senior fine arts major, said the policy does not consider the schedules of non-traditional students. She is starting a student petition to get the policy overturned.
“I would have transferred to UWM if I had known it would have been an issue for me to be in here at night as a non-traditional student, mom and working woman,” Dabel said.
Barbara Armstrong, dean of the School of Arts and Design, is currently looking for an alternative way for students to use the software outside of the labs, such as loaner laptops that students can check out.
“We don’t want to deny people the opportunity to use the equipment that we have,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong emphasized the importance of students learning to work more efficiently with the time they are allotted in order to be more successful employees after graduation.
“Closing the rooms might cause people to actually work smarter,” Armstrong said. “It forces you to be more efficient – that’s not what’s driving the policy at all, but that’s why I would support the policy.”
Armstrong also acknowledged the effect that the policy will have on the schedules of non-traditional students.
“Let’s be realistic – people have busy lives,” Armstrong said. “They have families, jobs, so maybe the 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. shift is the only time that they have, so how do we do that while also supporting students and safety? We are looking at whether technology can help do that … If you’re a person that needs to learn to really concentrate and focus, maybe if you’re only going to have the software until midnight, you’re going to not stop and get that extra cup of coffee.”
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