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For some stu­dents, shoes in the unions are optional. Haley Strack | Collegian

It’s 12:30 a.m. on a Friday and you’re exhausted. You just spent six hours in a classroom in Lane Hall cramming for an exam that you’re still woe­fully unpre­pared for. As you close the door behind you and get ready to head home, a less-than-desirable smell meets your nostrils. 

You quickly rec­ognize the aroma of feet and glance over to see one of your class­mates wave at you as he pads his way across the floor with no shoes or socks in sight. All you can do is hold your breath, avert your eyes, and return his wave as politely as you can.

No shoes, no shirt, no service. While it remains a reg­u­lation at most busi­nesses today, it is also a widely accepted, unwritten rule of common decency. 

At Hillsdale, however, some of the student body seems to be ignorant of that rule, or at least don’t care that it exists. Whether it’s in the Union, Lane or Kendall after hours, or even just on their way to class, a dis­turbingly large number of stu­dents choose to forgo even open-toed shoes.

I enjoy the feel of con­crete and hard tile on the soles of my feet as much as the next guy, but there’s seeing someone walk barefoot through the Union at 10 a.m. feels barbaric. 

Shoes, believe it or not, exist in modern culture for a reason — quite a few, actually.

For one, shoes are a common decency to those around you. Unlike your room in your house or dorm, there are other people around you in public, and those people don’t want to see your feet on their way to class in the morning. 

What if a classmate decided it was too hot to wear a shirt up the hill? It would be dis­tracting and unset­tling. For our barefoot buddies, it seems, the rigid con­striction of shoes out­weighs the comfort and focus of their classmates.

If a common social con­vention doesn’t con­vince shoe haters — it clearly hasn’t stopped them before — maybe health will. Though the college’s cus­todial staff does their very best to keep campus clean, they don’t catch everything. 

The stray pen, pin, or nail occa­sionally dots the floors, usually accom­panied by dirt and wood chips tracked in from outside. These are already unpleasant to step on with shoes on, and unless they’ve got hobbit feet, it can’t be an enjoyable expe­rience for our shoeless class­mates either.

Not only does it risk direct physical injury, but not going barefoot can open you up to a wide variety of dan­gerous bac­teria. If you’ve got any tiny cracks or cuts on your feet and you’d like them to get infected, walking just about any­where without shoes is a sure-fire way to do that. 

If you’re itching to remove your shoes, do us all a favor: Go outside. No one needs to see (or smell) that.