After hours crack-down in the Science building

(Photo by Heather Davidson)

It seems that, at least for now, students are going to have to find space other than the science building to study late into the night on campus.

In the past, students have been able to study in the building after lockdown hours, but over the past few weeks special constable services has begun to usher students out at closing.

“I’m very surprised that all of a sudden this has become an issue because nothing is new here, as far as I know,” said Paul Jessop, dean of science at Laurier. “Maybe the degree of enforcement is a little different.”

Monday to Thursday, the building is open until 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on the weekend.

“It’s been the rule, but it’s been somewhat lax enforcement, which everybody agreed to,” Jessop said, referring to students technically being unable to remain in the building after lockdown.

During exam time in April, the Science building extended their hours by request of students, closing at 2:00 a.m. It returned to regular hours in May, but Jessop said that since then no one has requested that the hours be extended.

Part of the reason why the building is not open 24/7 in the first place is due to the undergraduate teaching labs and research labs located on the second and third floors, which contain dangerous chemicals and hazardous materials.

“Those labs should be locked at all times,” said Jessop. “But mistakes are made and from time-to-time they’re not locked.”
In the past, Jessop continued, they have considered addressing this by segregating the first floor from the floors above. But due to the expense and “ugly” appearance, they opted against it.

According to Chris Hancocks, operations manager of special constable services, the science department requested they begin enforcing the rule and kicking students out after close.

Part of the reason for this, he said, is a problem with lost money as a result of the theft in the building.

“The whole problem is students- and we don’t want them to- but students don’t police who comes in and out of the building,” said Hancocks. “So if a student leaves, they prop the door open because they want to come back. Well that leaves the entire building accessible to everyone and anyone.”

As a result, faculty offices, science research offices and labs get broken into and equipment stolen.

“In order to combat that, [the science department] decided they would clear the building except for those people who were authorised to be in there after hours,” said Hancocks.

Students who have research projects, for example, are granted swipe access to the building after hours.

Fred Nichols Campus Centre is the only building on campus right now that is open 24/7.

Hancocks said he would prefer the Science building didn’t move to this schedule.
“It’s an outlying building, it’s along a very busy street. During bar nights and whatnot people cut through that building and cause some damage,” Hancocks continued.

He doesn’t blame the students, but noted that there are many residents in the area.

“We don’t have the people to [watch it],” he said. “We’re too busy responding to calls in order to be in the science building at all times checking to see if somebody is a student or is not a student.”

Jessop and special constables will be meeting with Stephen Franchetto, president of university affairs, on Thursday to discuss the hours in the Science building further.

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