Noise Levels in Student Center Spark Controversy
October 20, 2006 3:55 PM
Even at its loudest, with a band playing and speakers blaring, the noise level in Malcolm X Plaza is not allowed to exceed 95 decibels, however the lower conference level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center reaches almost 90 decibels even before the lunch crowd arrives.
For students and faculty who do not like the din of the lower conference level, a mix of video games, television, and music, they have the option of taking their lunch elsewhere. But for those who have to work in it for hours at a time, whether they enjoy the noise or not, there is no choice.
“If you just come in sometime for an hour or so it’s OK, but me, I’m here until 7 or 9 o’clock,” said Frank Meng, who has owned and operated Asia Express for more than 10 years.
Over the years Meng has brought up the noise issue many times, but his complaints have fallen on deaf ears, he said. The Cesar Chavez Student Center’s top administrator does not agree that there is a problem at all.
“When I’m in different parts of the building I hear no difference,” said Guy Dalpe who has been managing director of the Cesar Chavez Student Center for 15 years.
Dalpe also denied having received complaints this month, although Meng said he had talked to him the day before about the noise.
“The managing director hasn’t done anything about these complaints,” said Mirishae McDonald, chair of the Master Plan Committee, which manages the budget for the Cesar Chavez Student Center. “These problems have been happening well before I got here, and will continue after I’m gone unless I do something.”
McDonald hopes to discuss the issue at a future committee meeting.
“The Depot is for our enjoyment, and there is so much cool stuff down there, however we don’t want it to be to the detriment of those who work there,” McDonald said.
For some, the noise is not a detriment, it's good business.
Osvaldo Castaneda has owned New York “Minute” Deli for more than two years, and wouldn’t mind a little more noise.
“It does not bother me, we play music and a lot of people like it,” Castaneda said. “Before, the TV was on the other side (of the mural wall), it was nice. A lot of people like to come watch sports and news.”
Many Cesar Chavez Student Center staff members would not comment on the issue.
Danny Gotaj, the night custodial supervisor who has been working in the building for 24 years, would only say, “It’s part of the job, you are hired, you just have to deal with it.”
An accordion fire door is used to help muffle the sound made by musicians who perform weekly in The Depot, just above Asia Express, but Dalpe said the door cannot be closed completely because of fire regulations.
The effects of loud noise on the ear differ greatly from person to person, said Colleen Polite, doctor of audiology at UC San Francisco, but the longer the exposure, the greater the chance of permanent damage.
Like Gotaj and Meng, many of the people who work in the lower conference level have dealt with the noise for years, but might not have had to.
Lowering the sound level might be an easy and affordable fix, according to SF State professor John Barsotti, who specializes in sound and music recording.
Twenty boxes filled with housing insulation and placed at key points in the room could lower the noise level by three to four decibels, and make a major difference for roughly $1000, Barsotti said.
Every three decibels sounds double to the human ear, and a three to four decibel difference is a “major difference,” Barsotti said.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University