Letter: Stop the jackhammers to keep us healthy

I smell bacon, and it’s not coming from the Branford dining hall’s weekend crew.

The ongoing construction of Harkness Tower has made a good night’s rest nearly impossible for Branfordians. The sounds of drills and banging and the voices of diligent construction workers have served as a plain contradiction to one of the main pieces of medical advice offered by University Health Services to combat the contraction and spread of swine flu: sufficient sleep.

It’s easy and indeed necessary for members of the University community to wash hands, avoid close contact and avoid sharing of utensils. More importantly, YUHS’s request that Yalies step up their hygiene is straightforward and fair. In fact, it would be good idea at any time.

The H1N1 virus came to fore last spring as a potentially serious threat to millions ­— a pandemic on the horizon. Contracts and deadlines aside, if the University is serious about nipping the spread of swine flu in the bud, it should make a serious effort to provide the proper environment in which to do so.

Suggesting a good night’s sleep as if there aren’t jackhammers going off outside students’ windows at 7 a.m. is unreasonable. The Harkness Tower moat under renovation won’t save us from the farrow of sick piglets poised at Branford Gate. To be sure, a good night’s rest would be better.

Alexander Kellar

Sept. 11

The writer is a junior in Branford College.


  • BR 2010

    It is 7:16am. My first class is not until 11:30, my alarm won’t go off until 8:30, and yet I am awake and browsing the YDN website.

    I too would like a good night’s sleep. I’m less worried about the swine flu and more worried about my sanity. Please, can’t they do their noisy work sometime other than when I’d like to be regenerating my tired neurons?

  • Kevin

    The better question is, why are you NOT up at 7 o’clock? Doctors recommend at least 7 hours of sleep, and you’re regularly getting to bed after midnight. Maybe you need to get off World of Warcraft so you can study and do your reading first. That will help you get to bed earlier!

    The construction workers have a job to do that has regular hours. The University obviously trusts their students to self-regulate.

  • Arthur

    Kevin’s right. Do you want a good night’s sleep or a good morning’s sleep?

  • Anonymous

    Kevin, Yale students also have a job to do, one that has highly irregular hours. This isn’t high school where we’re out of school by 2:30, home by 5:30 and in bed by 10:30 so we can be on the bus by 6:30. The earliest classes here start at 8am, and the latest classes go until 9:30pm. That’s a 13-hour window during which Yalies could be expected to be in class, and Yale students are expected to do a lot more than just class. Rehearsals, YPU debates, volunteering/community service, etc. are all things that could begin or end anywhere between 8pm and 1am, and some activities go much later (working on the YDN, for example). So if someone is staying up until midnight or later on a regular basis, it’s not necessarily because he’s playing WoW.

    So as far as self-regulating goes, well, we do our best. But if doing our best requires having a day that starts at 9am or later rather than 7am–as I imagine is typical for Yalies–it wouldn’t hurt for the University to help us out a little. I don’t see why it would be so unreasonable for the construction workers to work from 9-5 rather than 7-3.

  • Jennifer

    In response to Kevin, your jab at those who play World of Warcraft is just a little inappropriate. For those who are coming down with the flu or the cold or feeling a little under the weather and require rest, the sound of a drill turning on is not the most welcoming sound you’d like to hear. With the Morse renovation going on across the back of Stiles, all of us get up at 7:30 regularly whether we like it or not. Not all of us used to be early risers, but because of the construction, NO ONE can sleep through the noise. There IS also something called homework that is assigned daily, too.

  • BR

    Union contracts are so flexible!

  • NYC resident

    I agree with Anonymous.

  • anon

    you kids need to get a life. wake up at regular hours and go to sleep at regular hours. face it, the average go to bed time is probably 1-3 AM. That’s messed up. And then there are those who regularly go to bed @ 4 AM-6 AM.
    The university colludes with the dearth of early classes and bunching of classes early in the week so many kids dont have friday classes either, further adding to the sleep schedules being normalized to thursday through sunday partying till the wee hours of the morning, with the other days representing half of the days. So as a result, sleep schedules dont cohere and you end up whining about being awake at 7 AM.
    the construction workers are probably unions, they all work these hours–hint hint so they can go to their second jobs. having worked construction before becoming a faculty person here, i can assure you of this fact. its a universal in all construction i have even done and its just the way they roll. deal.

  • Kevin

    #4, granted. But the point is, the type of letter this guy wrote is the sort of thing that is beyond the point of change, and it’s a complaint with no realistic solution.

    I found the whole letter snide and condescending to point out the contradiction between construction workers outside this guy’s bedroom to the University’s health program. Boo hoo, adjust, and let them get on with their CONTRACTED JOBS. I’m sure they would like to get their construction work done without having THIS guy complain and whine about the noise.

  • YaleProf

    Ask your parents how they would like it if they were told to shift their work schedules — which means their commuting schedules, child-care schedules, and everything else in their lives — because on one job, the neighbors like to stay up late.

    And it’s not just these construction workers. Everything else has to be scheduled, too — from the police who make sure they do not get run over, to the inspectors who have to look at parts of the job as it is completed.

    Eight hours of sleep can be achieved in many ways, such as 11pm – 7am.

  • a reader

    The Morse construction from HGS is really bad too–workers were hammering all day a few feet from my roommate’s window last week. The planning committee informed us in a meeting that they were being generous by reducing the workday from 7am-midnight to 7am-10 pm. How magnanimous. We HGs residents would delight in a 7-5 construction schedule.

  • Anon

    @Profs, when I was an undergrad, ‘I had to go to bed at 11PM.’ wasn’t an excuse for not getting homework done. Even with the best planning and no procrastination, sometimes one has to stay up late.

    College is much different than the real world, and people tend to be up late, and wake up late. To expect otherwise is to change the entire culture and character of college; ‘work hours’ for students at college are strange, so the rest of their schedule will be strange. Fix the ‘work hours’ and students will develop normal schedules, too.

    That said, the problem is harder to eliminate. If it is possible given the project timeline, doing loud work next to inhabited buildings later in the day is possible, even an hour would help. I’m also a big fan of ear plugs; they don’t always work, but they can help.