Shh-ifting the standards for dorm noise

Rojeena Thapa

Imagine that you come back to your dorm after a long, stressful day and just want to sleep well. 

However, as the evening wears on, you begin to notice the sound of loud music and shouting coming from the room next door. You’re left feeling exhausted and frustrated, wondering what you can do to address the issue. 

Uncomfortable with the idea of confronting your neighbors or complaining to your Community Advisor (CA), you’re left powerless. 

This is a common experience for many students living in residential halls, and it  needs to be addressed.

Augustana residential life has set rules for quiet hours on weekdays and weekends. The quiet hours for weekdays are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and for weekends are 10 p.m. to midnight. 

While students are encouraged to report noise complaints, this can put them in an uncomfortable position. 

Many students hesitate to report noise concerns. 

They may fear retaliation or confrontation from their neighbors, which leaves students feeling anxious about filing a complaint or annoyed that the issue is left unaddressed.

Zach Blair is a sophomore and the CA in the all-gender J-2 wing. He recalls an experience when he had to knock on a resident’s door to remind them about quiet hours. 

“Nobody wants to be that person and be a spoilsport, but it is necessary to simply walk up to the resident’s room and remind them about the policies,” Blair said. 

Quiet hours and other policies regarding noise complaints should be enforced more consistently. 

“I have a three-strike policy,” Blair said. “If a student has three complaints against them, their complaint is taken to my supervisor. But there has not been any instance, as the residents usually understand after the first warning.”

Rahim Ajmal Ikhlas, a First-Year, expresses how important it is for residential life employees to take noise complaints seriously and enforce them consistently. 

“There should be a policy where the resident should be fined,” Ikhlas said. “Just setting up a rule and fine system would reduce the number of incidents concerning noise after quiet hours.” 

Ikhlas also suggests an anonymous complaint system. 

This system not only conceals the identity of the student filing the complaint, but gives them enough courage to speak up about their problems.

Residential life is doing its best to provide students with a harmonious dorm experience. 

The CAs are always available to listen to residents. 

Issues range from noise complaints, laundry machine problems, or maintaining the integrity of the hall. 

In comparison, noise complaints are not as severe as other problems faced by residents, the Community Advisors, supervisors and other people in authority.

However, by taking a more active role in enforcing noise policies, CAs and residential life employees can help to create a comfortable and peaceful living environment for all students. 

Taking this role consistently would help to alleviate the burden that students face to noise complaints, making it easier to speak up and address these issues as they arise.


Zach Blair previously worked for the Observer