If you’re spending serious time at the Bobst Library, you know about LL1-16. This is a glass room located near the stairs down from the lobby. Before NYU adjusted again the limitations of COVID-19, LL1-16 used to be the only place in the library where one could eat. It is still filled with separate tables where students are allowed to eat for 15 minutes at a time, although the round room with vending machines – or, as my friends and I like to call it, the Snack Colosseum – is now blocked by recycling the bin. Signs “Quick stop” are replaced by “Eat forbidden”. The room has been transformed into an impromptu study space. But one big thing that hasn’t changed in the LL1-16 is the flat-screen TV built into the wall of the Snack Coliseum: it has served and continues to serve as a constant stream of CNN.

There’s nothing wrong with staying up to date with Anderson Cooper, and CNN does provide full coverage of most media events. But the channel plays almost 24 hours a day, until the very morning when students are only in Bobst because they have to be. The TV is out of place in the new LL1-16 environment and should be turned off.

Now that LL1-16 is not a dining area, students use it as an extra study. Students must have a non-distracting environment to be productive, especially given the intensive coursework offered by New York University. But those who study at LL1-16 compared to other Bobst areas are automatically at a disadvantage because of the TV. Anderson Cooper is cute, but when I’m struggling with an issue that should happen in an hour, he’s not the person I want to see. Getting away from the room is also not always an option. The lower levels are the only parts of Bobst that are open all night except for the week of the finale. For those who practice late at night, the lower levels are the only place you can go. Not to mention that a place in Bobst may be, as you know, hard to find – with an estimate capacity of seats of the 2,600 students to accommodate a student body of the 50,000, it’s easy to see why. Any seat is good luck.

CNN coverage of the topic is also not ideal for the learning environment. The task of journalists is to cover various events, and most often these events are horrible. President Putin a recent invasion Ukraine is a bad example of this. The actions of Russia, America and Ukraine can inevitably affect us all, and this is something we need to be well aware of. At the same time, listening to live reports about military movements is unlikely to help me finish reading texts and ideas, much less save any of it. The students are already stressed. We will not be able to focus or maintain our mental health if this stress is intensified in the library – the only place where you are supposed to be guaranteed quiet learning.

Many students bridge the gap between quiet learning and the former place to eat, using LL1-16 as a place to meet friends. CNN is also not promoting a relaxing public get-together. Colorful moving graphics of news channels are designed to attract attention by distracting it from the group you are with. Sober topics deprive us of the opportunity to be distracted from everything, and we are not left without a break.

As a student of journalism, I understand the value of news. It is very important to have an education. But I make judgments about when I can pay attention to the news and when other variables in my life require my immediate attention. The LL1-16 TV takes that choice away from students every day for hours on end. So turn it off – what’s the harm? I’m sure no one wants to pay attention anyway.

Contact Jules Roscoe at [email protected]