When the exam period began, student ‘A’ who wanted to study in the study hall of the university went to the study hall in the Lotus Hall. She tried to take a seat but she cannot. She looked at all the seats that have already been reserved, and regretted that she did not come earlier. However, when she glanced around the inside of the study hall, she saw that many seats are vacant. She felt dissatisfaction but thought that there was no other choice but to go somewhere else. Therefore, she went to the study hall of the Main Library. Finally, she was able to reserve a seat with difficulty, and went to the seat that she reserved. However, another student was already sitting in her seat. She asked the student, “Did you reserve this seat?” The student said “I forgot to extend my reservation for this seat.” A had no idea what to do, because the student did not have any remorse.
The Post surveyed the rate of satisfaction of 100 students for the study hall in Dongguk University. The first question was ‘Were you satisfied when using the study hall?’ 61 percent of the students answered ‘No,’ 32 percent of them said ‘Yes,’ 7 percent of them responded ‘I do not know.’ The next question was ‘What was the factor that made you the most dissatisfied?’ 58.7 percent of them said ‘Problems concerning getting a seat,’ 28.5 percent of them answered ‘Noise,’ 9.6 percent of them responded ‘Cleanliness’, and 3.2 percent of them said ‘Other factors.’ The majority of students who use the study halls in Dongguk seem to be dissatisfied. Why do many students feel this way?
There are two major types of the study hall. First, some study halls require reservations to use them. The problems in study halls where reservations are required are students using the seats without making a reservation, students making proxy reservations, and students not using the seats they reserved. Some students often use the study hall seats without making reservations. Student K who majors in the Department of Food Economics said, “I reserve the seat after checking that the seat is really vacant so that I do not get into a situation where I can be offended.” Proxy reservations are when one student reserve several seats on behalf of his friends. It means that other students are unable to use those vacant seats. One comment in D-Yeon, the Dongguk University’s web community, said, “I was dumbfounded when I went to the Main Library and I saw one student was reserving five to seven seats.” Lastly, there are students who reserve and do not use the seats. Because of those students, there are many occasions where the reservations list is full but seats are vacant. Students who do not return to their seats aggravate the problems. When the post repoter went to the study hall at 3 P.M. on May 13th in the Main Library, the reporter found out that 79 seats were reserved but 27 of them were empty. When the reporter checked 30 minutes later, 23 of them were still vacant. The complaints about this will certainly increase when final exam period begins.
One of the biggest problems in the study halls where students do not have to reserve seats is the long-term occupation of seats. Some students do not use the seat for a long time and just put their belongings there. Therefore other students cannot use the seat. This is an act of harming another person’s right to use the study hall because the student uses it as his or her personal seat.
In order to deal with those problems, what is our university doing? Efforts by our university can be divided to institutional methods and cognitive methods. First, in case of institutional methods, if a proxy reservation is made, a punishment such as prohibition of access to library is imposed on the student. In addition, students are advised to take photos of the seat reservation in case there is a dispute with another student who did not make reservation. If you show it to work-study students, he or she will help to solve the problem. An official at the Main Library said, “Previously, students who wanted to use the study hall had to pass through a checking gate. However it was removed because of the opinion that was inconvenient. Instead the Main Library adopted a reservation system to reduce problems about using seats in the study hall.” In addition, in the study hall for the College of Business, Bijeumaru, work-study students pick up belongings that have been left for more than an hour, because it is considered that this is claiming the seat unfairly. An official in the College of Business said, “Because notification of this policy was made in advance, the complaint about picking up belongings is considered to be an individual matter for the student.” A work-study student of Bijeumaru told the Post Reporter, “During the exam period, when many students want to use the study halls, picking up the belongings left for more than one hour is done without notice.”
Next, there are cognitive methods. In Bijeumaru, there are posters notifying library users that if they leave the seat more than an hour, their belongings will be picked up. In addition, the College of Business sent messages that ask the students to refrain from claiming seats.
Despite the university’s efforts, problems about using seats in the study hall still occur. What are other universities doing to deal with the problems? Improvements carried out in other universities are also divided into institutional and cognitive methods. As example of institutional methods, in Seoul Women’s University, ‘the Grasshopper’s Seat’ is running. ‘The Grasshopper’s Seat’ is a system that user of the seat leaves message that the seat’s number and the vacant time are written on the board to permit other students use that seat. The General Student Council of Seoul Women’s University said, “‘The Grasshopper’s Seat’ is a system that is used in the study hall of dormitory. It is not obligation but many students think it positively and use the system. If do not touch the belongings of the owner, there is no big problems.” In Daejeon University, a penalty is applied when returnig of the seat is not done. Daejeon University requires the return of the seat, and if this return is not done five times, a penalty that prohibits access to library for 24 hours is imposed. An official at Daejeon University’s library said, “If the students leave the study hall without returning more than five times, prohibition of access to library is applied from their next visit.” In addition, if the number of times that a student leaves the study hall without returning becomes very large, the student is excluded from library scholarships. The official said, “Daejeon University is conducting a mileage scholarship program that was started last year. Decisions are based 70 percent for using books, and 30 percent for using the study hall. If the number of times a student leaves the study hall without returning exceeds more than ten times, the student will receive zero points out of the 30 percent of the evaluation for using the study hall. As an example of cognitive methods, University of Seoul held a campaign against the claiming of seats in the study hall. The General Student Council of University of Seoul conducts online promotions through Facebook and cafes of University of Seoul and offline promotions through an official documents and advertisements.
The study hall of university is available to all students at each university. Our university and other universities are trying many methods to solve the problems that occur in the study hall. However, as it is the right of students to use the study hall, it can be solved by improving the individual’s consciousness first. If the culture that respects other student’s right to use study hall spreads, the benefit will finally come back to us.
Kim Min-ji firstname.lastname@example.org
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