Your roommate is watching a "Trailer Park Boys" boxed set, a guy is baring his soul to his cell phone in the common room and you have a final in the morning. The simple fix? Go to a classroom. It's quiet, there's a board to write notes on and there's plenty of space for you to spread out in … until the building closes.
Many students wish for a place to study after Milne Library closes at 1 a.m. Senior Daniel Kim, for instance, said he often studied in classrooms when he was a freshman and sophomore. He said he lived in "rowdy dorms and dorm rooms" where finding a quiet place to study late was tough.
"It would definitely be good to have somewhere open 24/7 to study," he said.
Though there is a 24-hour computer lab in South Hall, most doors to the building are normally locked at night and on weekends.
Freshman Clare Flynn said that she was doing group work in a classroom in Fraser Hall recently when a custodian "came in and said he had to clean, but he let us stay there … when we left, he asked us if we were the last to leave."
Claudia Forrester, a supervising janitor of the second shift custodial crew, said Flynn's experience is indicative of usual procedure. She said that staff members "usually let [students] stay in the classroom as long as they can." Lance Andolina, supervising janitor of the third shift custodial crew, said, "the only way to get the rooms clean is to have the rooms empty."
The staff members say another reason for the policy of clearing out rooms is that if students come in after they clean and make a mess, professors may assume the custodians failed to do their jobs. "We can't backtrack because of staffing," Andolina said.
Forrester made it clear that the custodial staff takes students' needs seriously. Cleaners don't run vacuums or floor cleaning machines during finals week, and whenever they do need to clean the rooms, they offer alternate places to study such as the lab in South or the library and, during finals week, the conference rooms in the Union.
For the industrious, there are usually ways to get in – a door that doesn't shut tightly or a strategically placed friend. The most successful tactic to securing space after hours, though, seems to be simple friendliness. Acting entitled to a classroom will rarely yield good results, but treating the custodians like people whose work is as important as students is will surely give the late-night scholar a better shot.
So until there is a place open all night for students besides the dorms, they will have to trust their luck and personal charm for 24-hour study spots. Until then, there's always Tim Hortons.