It is a Friday night, and I go to bed relatively late. Expecting to sleep until the late morning, I am surprised to be woken up before 9 a.m. to music neither my roommates nor typically I listen to. Confused at first, I slowly realize the pop music is coming from the baseball team’s pre-game warmup for its 11 a.m. game, clearly audible to me because Anderson Field is less than a couple hundred yards away from my hall.
The Occidental College student handbook’s Residential Education & Housing Services (REHS) Policy clearly states that residential housing quiet hours are from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. through the week and from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the weekends. With this in mind, students should be asking themselves why they are consistently woken up before quiet hours are over to the sounds of blaring music coming from the baseball field.
According to Associate Director of REHS Juls White, this policy only accounts for noise that occurs within the residence halls and areas connected to the residence halls (i.e. Stewie Beach, Haines Lawn, Chilcott-Erdman Lawn, Berkus Hall courtyards). However, according to the actual text of the policy, REHS should account for the unusual circumstances of the baseball field, too. The policy states that, “These hours extend to areas directly surrounding the residence halls.” From this section of the handbook, it is clear that students should be questioning why an athletics event would be exempt from this policy.
Despite the policy, REHS’s hands are pretty much tied on the issue, according to White.
“[REHS] does not have control over noise levels at athletic spaces,” White said. “However, we do live in a community of respect, and [REHS] is always willing to help alleviate the noise when possible.”
White encourages students who are concerned with the noise to call the Resident Adviser (RA) on duty so they can work with Campus Safety to have the baseball team lower the volume.
Regardless of whether REHS has the ability to control outside noises, I don’t expect the music to be completely shut off. As an NCAA athlete myself, I understand the desire for pre-game music. And according to economics major Kenneth Nishimura (sophomore), the tie between pre-game music and baseball is especially longstanding.
“Playing music during the pre-game of an NCAA baseball game is a pretty universal and integral part of any pre-game routine from college up to the pros,” Nishimura, an injured-reserve member of the varsity baseball team, said. “It’s just a really good way to stay loose while at the same time pumping you up a little bit.”
It is perfectly reasonable for a baseball team competing in one of the best conferences in Division-III to want to play music during warm-ups and in between innings. But this music should not infringe upon fellow students’ rights to sleep in on the weekends.
So, on that note, I request two things of the baseball team and their DJ.
First, simply lower the volume of the music. I can endure some soft noise outside of my window, but when outside music is projected through my room at similar sound levels as my personal speakers are capable of playing, I believe this implies a lack of respect. If they are not willing to do this, at least courtesy hours could be honored, and they could wait an extra hour to begin blasting music.
Second, if residents are going to be unwillingly subjected to the baseball team’s noise, some better music should be played. As opposed to the usual Top-40 radio hits playlist, perhaps some better pump-up music could be played.
Politics major Daniel Terner (sophomore), a Norris Hall resident, agrees that different music could be played.
“I would just say a lot of times they could really pick a better song,” Terner said. “You hear the same Avicii riffs and country songs over and over. It just gets annoying after awhile.”
The principle of communal respect should constitute all that is needed to enforce courtesy hours in this instance. It is purely disrespectful towards upper campus to be subjected to an alarm clock they did not set. The school policy states, “The right for quiet supersedes the right to make noise.” This statement was made to mediate cases such as this. In a situation where residents are clearly negatively impacted, with potential for a decline in academic performance due to an insufficient amount of sleep, a change undoubtedly needs to be made.
Michael Tonetti is a sophomore Diplomacy and World Affairs major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @WklyMTonetti.