A Daily Struggle, the Squeaking Chair Problem
By: Patrick McDowell
As a student, the usual expectations in the classroom are to be quiet and to listen to your professor. However, Bellarmine has a noisy issue that prevents this: squeaking chairs.
Each year during the fall, spring and summer semesters, thousands of students sit in classroom chairs. Although what doesn’t kill you may make you stronger, the same cannot be said for our chairs.
Squeaking, noisy, stained or simply uncomfortable chairs are a problem for our campus. Although this may seem like a trivial issue at first glance, you spend a lot of time in classroom chairs.
Bellarmine junior Neal Adams said: “Some of the new chairs, even in (Centro) and McGowan, they don’t have arm rests or anything. Especially the squeaky ones can be kind of distracting in class when someone leans back. Even when I lean back I’m thinking I’m making noise. I’m not thinking about what the teacher is talking about.”
These kinds of distractions are a bigger deal than they seem. If students lose focus on their course material, it can be hard to get back on track.
While some issues with chairs actually have an impact on academics, others simply prevent students from feeling comfortable on campus.
Bellarmine senior Tony Ferrante said he doesn’t like older chairs. “Halls like Pastuer and Norton have much older chairs, and they are really uncomfortable,” Ferrante said. “They are kind of gross if you ever look at them. They have big stains all over them.”
Bob Zimlich, vice president for administration and finance, explained some reasons chairs are in poor condition.
“We have a finite pool of money that we try to put towards that each year,” Zimlich said. “Prior to two years ago, we had about $50,000 to $60,000 in a budget. With that we would try to go and upgrade a certain area at a time such as a couple classrooms or common area furniture.”
Zimlich said budget cuts have decreased that amount to $25,000.
With the vast majority of chairs operating effectively enough, it can be difficult to justify the cost of replacing a large number of chairs. On the other hand, it can be just as difficult to justify ignoring the complaints of students who fund the university through tuition payments.
Money is seemingly tighter than ever at the university, and tuition is at the forefront of financial issues. “We try to contain our costs to not have to raise tuition. We do everything we can not to,” Zimlich said.
Although chair costs depend greatly based on the model of the chair, other factors also influence pricing. The number of chairs being purchased at once, where the chairs ship from and the brand of the chair can make the price range for effective solutions quite broad.
With the school having no contractual obligation to any dealer or brand, where the $25,000 goes comes down to a price war.
As with many problems on campus, until something is done to combat the issue, it will progressively get worse. With chairs seemingly getting squeakier by the day, students are left to wonder if anything can be done about this campus-wide problem.
When it comes down to financial concerns, students may feel that there is little they can do. However, students can make a difference by:
· Taking a picture of a particular chair and emailing Brian Pfaadt at email@example.com with a description of the problem, the location of the item and the photo.
· Writing a bill outlining your solution to the issue and requesting funds from the Student Government Organization.