As sleepy students pile into the library this exam season, they are likely to be confronted by campus security guards waking them up if they chose to take a quick catnap. Joseph Watts, U3 English Literature and Art History, and Daily columnist, long accustomed to catching up on sleep in the library, was woken up by a Campus Security guard when he had put his head down for a brief nap two weeks ago. The guard shook his shoulder to wake him and told him, without a supporting explanation, “there is no sleeping in the library.” He is one of many students who have been aroused from library naps this year.
“I don’t really see why it’s a problem because I’m being quieter than I would normally be,” said Watts.
According to Janine Schmidt, Director of Libraries, McGill libraries do not have a policy on napping. She said restrictions derive from campus security, which enforces the policy to avoid theft. She claimed that unless a student’s belongings seem in jeopardy they are allowed to nap freely.
Schmidt contacted Campus Security requesting that they explain to students why they are woken up.
Although campus security was unavailable for comment, a security guard in McLennan asserted that “the library is a place for studying, not sleeping.” Yet the guard added that as that as long as students were not lying down, taking up more than their required space, or interrupting other students, security would not disturb them.
Stephen Davis, U3 Religious Studies and Daily Photography editor, who lives in the Plateau, said that it is impractical to return home in the middle of the day to nap and illogical that students are restricted from benign activities, like napping, on campus.
Davis was busted by campus security during exam period last spring for dozing with his head on his arms in McLennan Library.
“I already feel that my schoolwork dictates my sleep schedule, so when I finally have some free time to sleep, I intend to use it,” said Davis. “It’s frustrating to be denied the choice on how to use my time.”
Most of McGill’s undergraduate student study areas, however, provide space on campus that encourage napping. Students frequently sleep in faculty or department lounges, or the SSMU lounge.
AUS External Hanchu Chen invited students to nap in the Arts Lounge.
“The Arts Lounge is exactly what its name suggests. It is a lounge where can people can hang out, study or nap… Students paid their fees to use it, so they can use it as they wish, as long as they are considerate to the need of others,” Chen said.
The SSMU lounge is also known for its comfortable couches and nap-friendly environment. According to SSMU VP University Affairs, Nadya Wilkinson, there is no reason to restrict sleeping in the SSMU lounge, especially when there are markedly fewer places where students are permitted to sleep on campus than to study.
“Sleep is often too hard to fit in to a busy schedule,” Wilkinson said, noting that because so many students live far from campus, it is necessary for the campus to offer them a place to nap.
Wilkinson added that the lounge is extremely important to academic life on campus, and that naps are important in some students’ demanding academic lives.