Always playing the waiting game

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By Amanda Arroway | Asst. News Editor

Students enrolled in English or English as a Second Language classes understand that they need to log 18 hours in the Writing and Reading Center during the semester in order to pass their class.

What these students don’t understand, is why they have found themselves waiting in line for upwards of two hours or more outside of the Writing Center for the chance to get their time in the lab.

Students who use the Digital Library on a regular basis, or even those students that fight for a parking spot daily, understand that ease of access to these areas of campus can vary depending on the time of day. When it comes to the Writing Center though, the phrase “ease of access” is almost completely foreign.

Located on the bottom floor of the Martin Luther King Building, the lab is open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. ESL lab hours are limited to 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The line to get into the lab forms outside as early as 7:30 a.m. wrapping around the building, and completely filling the breezeway between the Assessment and Writing Centers by 1 p.m. most days.

But when students have to log 72 minutes each week in order to pass their class, many students don’t have time to stand in an hour long line between classes or before work.

Student Sarah Samson has waited over two hours to get into the lab, and she has concerns that she won’t be able to log her correct hours to pass her English 1A class this semester. Brian McKay, another student, tried three times in a week to log his lab hours for his English 60B and Reading classes.

CAPTION
PILE UP: A long line trails between the Martin Luther King Jr. Teaching and Learning Center and the Assessment and Journalism Building as RCC students try to sign into the Writing and Reading Center on March 1.

Luis Solis / Photo Editor

The Writing Center is currently working on a plan to help get students in and out as efficiently as possible. The system currently in place allows 10 students into the lab, when 10 students leave. With only 110 seats in the lab, this process takes time.

Denise Kruizenga-Muro, the lead instructor of the Writing and Reading Center, says that department is aware of the problem, and currently is working toward a solution.

“We’re really doing it so that we don’t go beyond our occupancy limit,” she said. “It’s a safety issue, and right now we’re just concerned about everyone’s safety.”

As it stands, the first floor of the Martin Luther King Teaching and Learning building is the only place for students to log their much needed lab hours.

“The state requires lab hours to be completed with line-of-sight supervision from a faculty member with a degree in English or ESL,” Kruizenga-Muro said.

This is the first semester the Writing Center has seen this much traffic.

“This is unprecedented for us,” Kruizenga-Muro said. “I’ve worked in the Writing Center for four years and this has never happened before; we’ve had lines consistently every single day.”

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