By The Echo Editorial Board
The Echo Editorial Board consists of Co-Editor in Chief Chrysa Keenon, Co-Editor in Chief Gabby Carlson, Opinions Editor Drew Shriner, Features Editor Grace Hooley, News Co-Editor Rayce Patterson and News Co-Editor Holly Gaskill.
Hope Bolinger's article entitled "Taylor University needs to cool it," published in the Aug. 31, 2018 edition, was quickly met with hostility from online commenters.
This week, The Echo Editorial Board sat down to discuss the strong opposition to Bolinger's submission.
The article advocated that the three residence halls on Taylor's campus lacking air conditioning-Olson Hall, Wengatz Hall and English Hall-should either be given air conditioning or have a lower cost of room and board.
On the Facebook post promoting the article, six out of the eleven original comments had strong negative connotations, while two comments were neutral or pointed out a correction and three sympathized with the sentiment expressed in the article. The comment threads under several of the original comments showed further division on the subject.
One comment simply says, "Wow… first world problem".
"If you are picking a dorm based on A/C you're doing Taylor wrong," reads another. "A dorm is part of your identity and overall experience at Taylor with all the traditions the dorms have. While A/C is nice I certainly did not pick Sammy Morris because of it".
The Editorial Board acknowledges that air conditioning is a convenience, as expressed by another commenter. Students are not entitled to air conditioning by any inalienable right.
Further, several members of the Editorial Board live in residence halls without air conditioning and do not desire to move. One's dorm is indeed part of one's overall Taylor experience, and air conditioning is not a substantial enough issue to catalyze a residence hall change for many students.
Rather than a matter of entitlement or a matter of experience, having air conditioning in every dorm is a matter of practicality.
An article published in the Asian Campus Tribune entitled "VOA: Hot Dorm Rooms Could Affect Students' Memory" highlights a Harvard University study done on the effects of dorm temperature on students' academic performance.
According to the article, the study found that students living in residence halls without air conditioning performed worse on basic cognitive tests than those who live in residence halls with air conditioning.
The research team attributed these differences to the negative effects of the higher temperatures on the participants' sleep.
This study supports the results of a survey done by Taylor University senior Jori Hanna, which found that less than 10 percent of residents felt comfortable studying in dorm rooms without air conditioning.
One commenter added to the Facebook post, "A/C is for the weak."
That may be true, but according to these studies, it seems that air conditioning is also for the effective student.
If Taylor University seeks to educate students in the best way possible, it seems that adding air conditioning to Wengatz Hall, Olson Hall and English Hall would be a good place to start.
Ultimately, the Editorial Board believes that Bolinger's proposed solutions of reducing the cost of room and board for students in those three dorms or adding air conditioning to those three dorms both seem like fair compensation to the students for the potential negative effects to their academic performance.
The opinions expressed in Our View columns reflect the views of The Echo Editorial Board, and not necessarily those of Taylor University.