A Gentleperson’s Guide To Butler

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Butler is a prime example of the Hobbesian state of nature, as any CC student is sure to have realized by now. However, Bwog doesn’t think this means we have to be assholes to each other; despite the complete lack of accountability, we are more civilized than that.

Some unwritten rules exist in Butler. We decided to write them down again to destroy the ambiguity, in case you forgot. You’re welcome.

Personal space:

Here's a four-person example. Stick to your quarter of the table; don't piss Billy off.

Here’s a four-person example. Stick to your quarter of the table; don’t piss Billy off.

Every desk is to be divided equally among the people occupying it. The easiest way to respect this is to imagine a line exactly halfway between any other person on that desk; never let any of that stuff cross your line.

Regardless of the room’s official policy, food is usually okay anywhere Butler. Just make sure you’re not extremely loud (there is a mysterious technique called “chewing with your mouth closed” which seems to elude most of the Columbia community but can be extremely useful in this regard), that you’re not making a complete mess, and that it doesn’t have too strong a smell (so that leftover curry you’ve been saving is probably a no-no).

In terms of private rooms, you lose your reservation if you don’t arrive within 15 minutes. If nobody has reserved the room, it becomes a shared study space.

It goes without saying that you should always wear earphones/headphones.


Everyone procrastinates a little, but it’s pretty disrespectful to use a space in Butler just to watch Netflix when so many people want to actually study there. In fact, if that’s what you’re doing, a change in space might help you do actual work, so take that into consideration.

If you run into a friend, it’s fine to stop and whisper with them for a while. However, if you want to stand there and have a loud conversation for an extended period of time, consider taking them out to the hallway, or to 1020.


Camping refers to leaving your seat in Butler for extended amounts of time (i.e., over an hour). We highly recommend taking shorter breaks, because of the many health risks associated with sitting in the library for long periods of time. But longer breaks are frowned upon, yet tolerated because everyone needs to take one sometimes. Keep in mind that the stuff you’re leaving at that awesome spot in 209 is taking the spot of someone who is looking for a place to sit as desperately as you. A good rule of thumb is the following; don’t leave your desk unattended for longer than you plan on using it after you get back.

In terms of how to camp, you do it by leaving your things there. These things can be put into three categories, not limited to the examples provided:

  • Recommended:
    • Backpacks/bags
    • Notebooks
  • Unsafe:
    • Electronics
    • Large food items (sandwich, salad, etc.)
  • Ambiguous
    • Library books
    • Loose sheets of paper
    • Small food items (gum, apple, etc.)

The recommended category includes anything that indicates clearly that someone is occupying that desk, and isn’t particularly risky in and of itself. Unsafe objects do indicate clearly that the seat is taken, but we do not recommend leaving them there as they may not be there when you get back (especially the food). Ambiguous items don’t help; if you just leave a pile of sheets of paper and an apple there, others can’t really tell if those should be respected or thrown away. Try to leave at least two things from the top two categories.

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  1. Best advice

    "Just make sure you’re not extremely loudly."

  2. Anonymous  


    someone really wants to be a math word problem author.

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