The university is responsible for trying to solve distracting, frustrating problem
Every Monday, I struggle to wake up for my 8:45 a.m. lecture. What makes matters worse is that my class is in the FG building on Concordia’s downtown campus. This building’s main floor and upper levels have been under construction since before the semester started. Many students, like me, have had to make their way to class only to have most of what their professor says be drowned out by the sounds of construction.
It was a bit of a joke at the start of the semester because the sound of construction seemed to start immediately after the professor began talking. However, after nine weeks of having large portions of every class be interrupted by the sound of drilling, it has become a nuisance.
During our most recent lecture, the drilling noises lasted for an hour and a half straight. I counted seven students in my class who got up mid-lecture and walked out because they couldn’t hear anything the professor was saying. I could also see more and more students—myself included—looking frustrated as the drilling persisted.
Our teacher has been forced to scream his lectures to the class. Even with him yelling, we still often miss important information. Whenever someone tries asking, or rather, screaming a question, the teacher can’t hear us either. Most of the class consists of “Sir, can you repeat that?” followed by our professor asking “What? Can you repeat your question?”
On top of the noise, sometimes the construction produces strange smells. For the most part, it does not filter down into the classrooms and there are large fans set up to help keep the air circulating, which also produce a lot of noise. But every now and again, smells make their way into the halls and the classrooms. This might not bother many people, but as someone with asthma, it really affects me. What’s worse is that I know the classroom is probably the area where it smells the least, so I can’t exactly leave the room to escape it.
Although the construction isn’t necessarily Concordia’s fault, it’s still affecting students and professors. Essentially, professors have to re-teach their students during office hours and are losing their voices. In my opinion, the construction is also affecting students’ physical health at times, by giving them headaches and, in the case of some students like me, affecting their breathing.
Concordia has a duty to its staff and students to provide adequate learning and teaching environments. As it stands, the FG building is not one.
This is an unlikely solution, but perhaps Concordia could work with the construction company or the other owners of the building to ensure construction times do not coincide with class hours. Again, I understand how hard it would be to come to that kind of consensus. Another option would be for Concordia to reduce the number of classes held in the FG building while construction takes place, or at the very least, not hold classes in rooms that are closest to the construction site.
I am fully aware that the university’s administration has little to no control over the issue. But they also need to recognize that it’s having a negative impact on students and professors. Therefore, they have to do whatever is in their power to ensure classes are interrupted as little as possible and that students and teachers have an adequate space to flourish in.
Graphic by Zeze Le Lin