Seat saving is a deep-rooted problem around campus. The student governments in the School of Business and College of Liberal Arts try to minimize the practice, but it still costs many students a place to study.
During the midterm period, about 25 percent of total 143 seats (except computer seats) in Hak-gwan reading rooms were vacant except for a bag, a few papers and books waiting for their owners to come back.
“In our case, the reading rooms are 100 percent self-regulated,” said Oh Hye-jin (English, 3), the student representative for the College of Liberal Arts, which holds its classes in Hak-gwan. “Although we considered alternatives, it is hard to put them in practice right away. The next candidate for student representative has made pledges regarding the reading rooms.”
The student government for the College of Liberal Arts has two posters next to Hak-gwan reading rooms that notify students about seating policies that have been applied since April.
Students who leave their seats and intend to return just have to leave a message with their seat number and how long they will be gone. If the person doesn’t come back within that time, other students can move the former occupant’s things and take the seat.
But students say the policy isn’t working.
“Although students are aware of the policy, they don’t care about it,” Kwon Jin-young (English, 2) said.
The situation repeats itself in the Ewha-Shinsegae Building reading room, where there are 220 seats. The administration office of the School of Business and its student government decided to exercise stricter control over it since April.
They made a seating chart to track availability and attached a number to each seat. Students who want to leave and come back have to leave a message indicating their seat numbers and time of leaving.
The School of Business student government randomly picks a day to check whether students are following the policy. According to Lee In-shil (Business Administration, 3), the student representative of the School of Business, they normally check reading rooms 10 minutes after classes start and again 30 minutes later. Finally, they check 10 minutes before classes end.
If the seats were left without a note throughout the checking process, the student government takes unattended books, papers and bags to the student council room.
Up-to-date notices, including the number of unattended seats from which things were removed, are then posted both in front of the reading room gate and inside it.
“We check the room mostly during exam periods, and after checking we make 10 to 15 extra seats for students,” Lee said.
Shin Yeon-su (Korean, 3) said she frequently has to wait to get a seat occupied only by bags, and in the worst case scenario, has to give up using the reading room.
“I think it is sometimes troublesome for students to leave a message whenever they leave. Also, the fact that they might not get the same seat or they might wait brings such problems,” Shin added.