Respect designated quiet spaces across campus, please


Written By Sarah Gibson, Co-Opinions Editor

It’s normally a joke on my Twitter. Every semester I’ll hear someone sing in the library, or something of the sort, and I’ll make a tweet asking certain students to please, pretty pretty please, not to do that. Normally, I’d just make another tweet instead of writing an opinion piece about it.


There were too many instances last semester to condense my emotions into a tweet or even a twitter thread.

Picture this: I’m sitting in the Thayer 212 computer lab, “a designated quiet space,” working on my photography final. I’m not great at photography, so it was very important that I made my photos look as good as possible for this final. People pop in from time to time, as they should. Sometimes they don’t say anything, sometimes they’re quietly talking with their friends, and other times they’re on the phone with their moms, asking how the FAFSA works.

None of this I mind. I can work through people speaking quietly. I can even work through humming, even though humming does irk me a little. At some point, however, as I’m reviewing my pictures on Adobe Lightroom, a larger group of people come in.

Before I can even give them the benefit of the doubt, they shut the door and begin shouting. It’s not angry shouting, but it’s definitely louder than what I would describe as “very loud talking,” so I’ll call it shouting. One pulls out her phone and starts playing “Bitch Better Have My Money” by Rihanna. I conclude that they are dance majors, or at the very least, in a dance class, because they are all in dance clothes and seem to be choreographing a dance involving the rows of chairs in the lab.

I make eye contact with two of them. They have to know that I’m there. I try to work on my assignment, but they keep shouting and playing music and moving chairs. I recognize that this won’t be something I can just work through. I stand, popping up behind the monitor, and I make the following address, which has most likely been paraphrased because I can’t remember exactly how I said it:

“Hi! I know you’re working on something, and that’s totally fine, but this is a designated quiet lab, and I really need to concentrate on what I’m doing. You guys don’t have to leave, but if you could just take it down a few so I could work, that would be great.”

I sit down. I didn’t want to kick them out, nor did I think I had the authority to do so, but it was a designated quiet space, and thus, I felt like reminding them might have helped. Several of the dancers rolled their eyes, and they all started heading for the door. One of them mumbled “WE have a project TOO you know,” which made me kind of mad. “Yes,” I thought  “Please interfere with me being able to do my final just so you’re able to do yours in a space where you probably shouldn’t.”

I got over it, I finished my project, and I did well! I hope those dancers did, too. Around the same time, my friend Mya Pici shared a similar story on Twitter. She was using one of the library’s study rooms when a student started singing quite loudly in one of the private study rooms in the library. She points out that there are rooms on campus that are DESIGNATED for students to practice performance art and music. The library’s private study rooms are actually terrible for practicing music or performance art because they’re all connected by vents, and if you speak louder than a soft word, your neighbors can hear you quite clearly.

After we had these encounters, I was so puzzled and angry. I figured that most of the students singing and dancing in the study spaces were COPA students, since performance art is what they do. I didn’t understand why COPA students were using these spaces when they had an entire Playhouse at their disposal. However, I was talking to a girl at my work who was a COPA student, and she informed me that COPA students weren’t allowed to use the Playhouse, either. This made me angry at the University. You built this giant facility, you claim on your website that your theatre students train there, and then you don’t let them use it for projects like you do with the rest of your facilities and the rest of your students? Do better, Point Park.

That being said, COPA students, and all students really, should have the forethought not to use designated quiet spaces for projects and practices, that are, by nature, not quiet.  If there’s a shortage of practice rooms, I’m sorry. That sucks, but Point Park is still a big enough school to find spaces that aren’t libraries or computer labs or lounges. It happens every year that myself and my friends hear people singing in the library. And to you, singers-in-the-library, I say: do better. It’s not hard to not sing in the library. I know this because I have never once done it myself or felt inclined to do so. I understand that your jobs are important, but so is everyone else’s. When you decide to sing or practice your performance art somewhere that is supposed to be a quiet space for people to study, it interferes with them, and you’re ruining the space for everyone else.

To my fellow “There’s someone being loud in my study space”-ers, I encourage you to call the number for the library (412-392-3171) if you’re in the University Center. Tell them about what’s going on and they’ll help you out by addressing the person who is bothering you. If you are elsewhere, I recommend just addressing them personally and politely. If they stick around, do what I never had the guts to do and call Public Safety.*
*This is a joke and I do NOT encourage you to do that.