To go or not to go? That is the question.
For a couple months, debate and confusion have stemmed from the pool table downstairs in the College Center.
It started during winter quarter when Puyallup campus President Patrick Schmitt, who walks through the college center about four or five times weekly, noticed what was, in his opinion, inappropriate behavior.
“(This is) behavior that I’m aware happens on college campuses,” he said. “But you hope it doesn’t happen in the student center and, sometimes, on the pool table.”
Students and administrators were complaining about excessive noise and other behaviors centering around the pool table. Schmitt said many complaints came from students trying to study upstairs in the Connections Café.
Schmitt said he had a problem with this because he feels that in a college environment, students have more of a right to study than they do to play games.
“What we are is not a game center, but a college,” Schmitt said.
Mari Kruger, director of student support services and student life, also disapproved of the behaviors surrounding the pool table, but she had a different take on it.
“The Connection Café is not meant to be a quiet space,” Kruger said. “It’s part of the College Center; it’s meant to be a social community opportunity. It’s not meant to be a place like the library.”
But Kruger said students complained not only about noise levels but about immature behavior, offensive language and inappropriate amounts of public displays of affection in the pool table area. In Kruger’s words, students were making out, climbing up the walls and lying under the pool table.
“It’s not what that space is for,” she said.
After these behaviors went on for a while, Schmitt suggested to Kruger the pool table be removed, but students took a say.
About a dozen students showed up for a forum that was held to discuss the pool table issues. Some students said it wasn’t the people playing pool who were the problem.
“There’s two groups,” pool club member Michael Anderson said. “There’s the people who hang out and play pool, and there’s the people who are idiots hovering around being noisy.”
According to him and pool club President Tye Authorlee, the problem is not the people who play pool. It’s people who sit on the benches and under the stairs.
The people who hang around the pool table annoy even the pool players, Authorlee said.
Whoever is causing the problem; it is apparent that the problem is happening around the pool table area, so administration thought it would help to have the table removed.
But Kruger and Schmitt received feedback that students would behave better in order to keep the pool table.
Kruger and Schmitt did not want to have to take it away.
“I think having a pool table is great,” Kruger said. “It’s a good release on breaks between classes.”
So, Schmitt decided to make a deal with the students.
“The arrangement is simple,” Schmitt said. “People using that area have to behave. If they’re not behaving, the pool table will be removed.”
Kruger posted some guidelines in the pool table area that the students using the pool table must follow.
“I think the rules are a good thing,” Authorlee said. “It keeps everyone on track.”
The students appear to be following guidelines, and Kruger says she is optimistic about it.
“I think people are rising to the occasion,” Kruger said.
Kruger and Schmitt both agree that the behavior around the pool table has improved, and they have received much less complaints about it. Pool players also feel that the area has improved.
“It’s been a lot less this quarter,” Authorlee said. “Last quarter it was bad.”
So what does the future hold for the pool table?
“At this point, it’s not going to be removed unless there are further incidents related to people around the pool table,” Kruger said. “We’re hoping that won’t be the case.”
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