Bans on dormitory bed curtains spark online debate

2024-04-26 10:32:46China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Bans on students using bed curtains imposed by some universities have sparked fierce debate online, with many students urging universities to not over-manage their personal lives.

The curtains, surrounding the bed and reaching up to the ceiling, are used by students to create a relatively private space in their shared dormitories.

However, several universities, including Xinjiang Medical University, Northwest Minzu University in Lanzhou, Gansu province, and Zhangjiakou University have banned the use of bed curtains, saying they are a potential fire hazard.

They also said bed curtains would make it hard for others to notice if a student had a health emergency.

The bans have met with fierce criticism online, with students arguing that there are other flammable items in dormitories and universities should not treat adult students as children.

Hashtags about the bans have become trending topics on the Sina Weibo social media platform, with most students disapproving.

Meanwhile, other universities such as South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and Guangdong University of Finance and Economics encourage students to use bed curtains to ward off flies and other insects.

Liu Yanling, a 20-year-old undergraduate at Changsha University of Science and Technology, said it has not banned her from using bed curtains in her dormitory.

"It feels like a mini door, which can create a physical barrier between me and others," she said. "When I close the curtain, my roommates know that I want some private time, and they will not disturb me."

With roommates' daily routines differing, the curtains can also block the light and create a cozier sleeping environment, Liu said.

Wen Sheng, an undergraduate student at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, Sichuan province, said curtains can prevent disturbance by flies and create a private space in which to change clothes.

Zhang Bei, a 24-year-old postgraduate at Central South University in Changsha, Hunan province, said it has some regulations on the use of bed curtains, but students are still reluctant to remove them because their privacy is important.

If the university wanted to prevent fires, it should concentrate on other things, rather than small curtains, she said.

Xiong Bingqi, director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said universities need to listen to students' opinions before imposing such bans.

The curtains can reduce awkwardness and confrontation among college students, because disrespecting others' privacy is a major source of conflict in dormitories, he said.

Removing the curtains will not improve relationships among students, but instead increase complaints about being disturbed, Xiong added.


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