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Courtesy of Hillsdale College

When Hillsdale College Security started finding sleeping stu­dents in the Grewcock Student union at 3 a.m. when it closed and after the admin­is­trators received reports that nothing really hap­pened in the union for its last open hour, they decided to close the union at 2 a.m. instead.

Although Grewcock was rarely well-pop­u­lated at 2:30 in the morning, the hour from 2 to 3 a.m. was vital, both for studying and for con­necting with other stu­dents.

Some admin­is­trators have con­tended that building hours should be limited in order to prevent stu­dents from staying up too late. While it’s rea­sonable not to condone late or sleepless nights, a student fin­ishing up (or starting) a research paper the night before it’s due is probably going to lose some sleep, regardless of building hours. For the 75 percent of stu­dents living on campus, the only option is dorm studying, but research from the Centers for Disease Control indi­cates that studying near bed can be coun­ter­pro­ductive.

“It comes highly rec­om­mended that activ­ities like studying, reading, and any other type of work or stress-related activity not be done while in bed,” an article based on the research says.

More impor­tantly, closing buildings on a campus with single-sex dorms limits those vital 3 a.m. con­ver­sa­tions. The­ologian John Henry Newman wrote in “The Idea of a Uni­versity” that res­i­dence is one of the most important aspects of a uni­versity, even more important than the classes.

“When a mul­titude of young men, keen, open-hearted, sym­pa­thetic, and observant, as young men are, come together and freely mix with each other, they are sure to learn one from another, even if there be no one to teach them,” Newman wrote. Dorm con­ver­sa­tions can be fruitful, but stu­dents need another location for these con­ver­sa­tions as well.

The earlier closing time has posed a problem for the Col­legian as well. In the past, when Col­le­gians were brought to campus around 4 a.m. there were still cus­to­dians and security guards around to open the door. Now, there’s a dead time at the union, and the Col­legian has been dropped off out­doors to sit in unpre­dictable weather for several hours.

Col­legian problems aside, stu­dents deserve longer hours at the union for high-quality studying and even higher-quality con­ver­sa­tions.

  • Camus53

    The issue is that the college is not about its stu­dents.

    They are but players in the bigger financial and political stage play into which Hillsdale became part of in the 1970’s.