By Kenal Brazier - Staff Reporter
On a regular day at Highline students can be seen doing a variety of different things in Highline's Computer Lab.
Some students might be huddled around one computer screen, studying franticly, chattering about the math homework they need to finish. On the screen next to them five pages of words look as if they scatter across the screen as another student continues to work on an essay.
Students flock to the back of the Computer Lab where the rapid clicking of keys and the uneasy jerking of mice echo as students gather to play online games such as League of Legends or Overwatch. The faint hum of voices sound as if they seep through the earphones people wear while watching videos ranging from things on YouTube to Anime.
And it's all Ok.
What you do on the computer screen at Highline is generally your own business as long as it does not break the law or the Highline Computer Use policies. Generally, because the Computer Lab has a slightly different set of rules from the library.
Though the computers in both the Computer Lab and the Library are primarily intended for college-related work, what people do on them is at their discretion.
"We can't really check what people are doing on their screens, it's against our policy," said Faculty Reference Librarian Jack Harton. "The only thing we won't allow people to do on the computer are things that are illegal or distracting. We can't kick someone off for doing something like watching porn unless it's causing a ruckus or if what they are doing is illegal by federal or state mandated law."
"Anybody can come to use the computers at the library but if we notice that students need to use the computers we make announcements in order to clear the computers so that students can use them," He said.
With regard to privacy, he said "Think of it like a student reading a book. Another student is reading over that person's shoulder and then comes to tell us he does not like what the student is reading and that we should remove them from the library."
"In reality the student that came to complain had no business violating the first student's privacy or reading over the other person's shoulder in the first place. It's the same way with the computers," Harton said.
The Computer Lab has a different set of rules for the computers since only students are allowed to log onto them. Due to this there are a set of rules, located on the Highline Website, that students must adhere to.
"Just like the Library staff, the I.T. staff do not look at the things people are doing on their computer," said Customer Services Information Technology Services Manager Theresa Duhart. "You never know what students could be doing. Playing games could even be part of a class as far as I know. Students also like to multitask and take breaks, so keeping up with what they are doing would be impossible."
"We don't often get complaints from other students about people doing things other than schoolwork," Duhart said.
"When the quarter gets closer to finals are when we get the most complaints about this, if any, but our job here is just to ensure that functional devices are available for students to use."
If you were to walk into the Computer Lab the chances of not finding someone doing something other than schoolwork is extremely low. It is however very likely that you would find someone playing an online game or watching a show.
Student and President of League of Legends Club Maelynn De Los Angeles said that she observes people doing things other than schoolwork all the time in the Computer Lab.
"I think that people often come to the Computer Lab to find something to do in between classes, even I do sometimes," she said. "The strangest thing I've ever seen someone doing was watching a foreign cartoon singing along out loud."
An anonymous student said "There is a person that plays Runescape in the Library all day. That game is so old I never knew that people still played it. When I realized that he was playing it, I got flashbacks to 10 years ago when I used to play it in the Library."
Regarding people playing games or watching shows, De Los Angeles said "I think it's like a domino effect. People saw one person playing a game that they played so they started playing too. From there the cycle just kept going on to create a community that keeps us connected."