Genevieve Huard and Valentina Korepanova
Co-editor and Contributing writer
The Puyallup campus pool table in the dining commons is no longer available for student use. It was closed Jan. 27 because of what college officials are calling persistent behavioral problems.
“It was a culmination of different things but ultimately the reasoning behind it was that the behavior around the pool table caused too many issues,” Lauren Adler, ASPCP president, said.
The inappropriate behavior included risque dancing, playing loud recorded music, hollering and leaving trash in the pool table area.
Last year the club was called Pool Club, but this year the club’s new leadership changed its name to Scratch Masters to disassociate with last year’s club and problems that were prevalent then.
David Todd, Scratch Masters president, was trying to recuperate the club from these problems.
“It’s unfortunate that the problems were not rectified and it’s disheartening to lose the table, but it also taught the students a lesson of cause and effect with behavior,” Todd said. “When I first took over as president, I saw a lot of PDA. It was addressed to members to stop and that significantly decreased it, but it still was happening.”
Other pool table users thought the new club was doing much better and improving from last year.
“This year we made a set of rules and enforced them,” Scott Nelson, former student and pool table user said. “I truly don’t think we have done anything wrong to deserve the pool table closure. We were improving.”
This attempt at improvement was not enough to end ongoing problems or stop concerns on campus.
“While behavior did improve for a period of time, unfortunately, it deteriorated regularly to include displays of affection, consistent foul language, intimidation and threats of other students, disruption to learning, complaints of weapons (knives) and other inappropriate behavior,” Mari Kruger Leavitt, director of student support services and student life, said.
Nelson mentioned that last year’s club was unwelcoming. This year Nelson says there was an open door policy and enforced rules.
This policy included non-student users for a while, which became a problem for school rules.
“Non-students are not allowed to check out Student Programs’ equipment nor use it unless associated with a Student Programs’ event,” Kruger Leavitt said.
Equipment also was an issue to pool table users because only Student Programs’ billiard balls could be used on the table.
This policy made pool use only available during Student Programs’ hours, which hindered night students from using the table.
“I think they were just tired of all the stuff that happened last year, which mainly happened at night,” Nelson said.
Puyallup campus President Patrick Schmitt said that his biggest problem with the pool table was the noise since the pool table is near conference rooms and common areas where students study.
Many students enjoy the dining commons for eating, studying or hanging out with friends. Which could be difficult when there are distractions like inappropriate behavior or high noise levels.
“Pool table people have a tendency to be extraordinarily loud,” Robby Lloyd, a daytime student at Pierce College Puyallup said. “It makes it hard to concentrate or have a conversation with someone sitting right next to me. They also inappropriately express their feelings for one another; I’d prefer they did it elsewhere.”
Schmitt noticed the pool table as a problem since he arrived at Pierce College summer 2010 due to his own experience with the pool table and complaints from students, faculty and staff.
“I can’t sacrifice the hundreds, or in fact thousands of students for the leisure time of a few,” Schmitt said.
The Scratch Masters still has its club charter and plans to continue to play at a new location.
“The pool club is still going to continue, we’re still figuring out the logistics of it, but we’re either going to rent the table for tournaments and make it a school event, play off campus, or continue to learn about the sport with the instructional videos and things of that nature,” Todd said.
The club has been carpooling from campus to play pool at Full Splice on South Tacoma Way, costing $10 per table per hour which comes out of the their $400-per-quarter allotment as a chartered club.
“It is a regrettable situation that the pool table was removed,” Kruger Leavitt said. “It was a great resource for students to have a recreational opportunity on campus and supports the notion of engaging students on campus. Unfortunately inappropriate behavior over a significant amount of time led us to making that decision.”
The pool table remains in the dining commons while arrangements are being made for it to be removed.
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