Sex in the stacks

According to a recent survey, students are getting busy with more than just end-of-semester crunch work in the Paley Library.

According to a recent survey, students are getting busy with more than just end-of-semester crunch work in the Paley Library.

Editor’s note: The Temple News has chosen to withhold names of all students quoted in this story.


A junior risk management and insurance major was sitting at a two-sided cubicle on the second floor of the Samuel L. Paley Library when he noticed a woman’s foot repeatedly rubbing against his own.

“I was just there to study,” he said, “but I went with it anyway.”

Later that night, he got up to leave the library and wanted to put a face to the feet. When he peered over to the other side of the cubicle, he was surprised to see a woman passionately kissing another man.

He said he had no idea there were two people at the cubicle across from him. He deemed the impromptu game of footsie unintentional.

“I guess she thought that my feet were the other guy’s feet,” he said with a laugh. “I felt violated.”

But his story isn’t the only one about students looking to get lucky between study sessions.

A recent study completed via found students appreciate the library not only as a quiet place to cram for tests and bang out the last few pages of research papers, but to get their freaks on as well. Just as they have been rumored to do for decades, students are taking to the library – among other public Main Campus buildings – to fool around, have sex and make love.

Of 100 students surveyed, 19 said they have “sexually fooled around” in Paley. Seven of the 19 admitted to going all the way.

Paley isn’t the only Main Campus venue to serve as a Lover’s Lane.

According to the survey, students have had sex in various other locations, including the fourth-floor study lounge of Tuttleman Learning Center, the sound-proof music rooms in Presser Hall, the kitchen in 1940 residence hall, the Pearson Hall pools, a stairwell in the School of Engineering and Architecture building and a storage closet in the Student Center.

None of the anonymous student-respondents said they were ever caught.

“To my knowledge, we have had no documented reports of incidents of this type from either the campus police or other students reporting it, nor anything anecdotal that we know of,” said Steven Bell, associate university librarian at Paley.

Bell said there isn’t a specific policy that states students can’t have sex in the library, but there is a code of conduct that states they must conduct themselves in a way that won’t offend others. He said if students were to be caught having sex – and library officials somehow acquired the students’ names – the case would be referred to the University Disciplinary Committee.

Andrea Caporale Seiss, senior associate dean of students, who oversees the Student Conduct Office, said in her 10 years of work at Temple, she has only seen one case regarding students having sex in public.

She said public sex falls under violation No. 20 of Temple’s Student Code of Conduct, a set of rules and regulations that explain appropriate behavior within the Temple community.

Students are in violation with “any lewd or indecent act, including public urination, which the student knows is likely to be observed by others,” rule No. 20 states.

She said repercussions would most likely range from a letter of reprimand – a written warning from the university – to probation or community service. She said students aren’t likely to get fined, unless something is damaged in the process.

“These are not the types of cases where students would get suspended or expelled,” Caporale Seiss said.

However, the Student Code applies to the entirety of Main Campus to 500 yards beyond it.

If students are caught getting it on in a parked car off campus, for example, they could face bigger charges.

“I was a freshman and thought, ‘Of course people do this in college,’” a senior women’s studies major said.

She said as a freshman, she met an older male student at a toga party. She joined him on Main Campus later and swooned when he proposed they “go to the stacks.”

She said that for 20 minutes, she was pants-less as she heard the faint sounds of students scrawling homework and turning book pages. She hasn’t gone to the stacks for that particular reason since, she said, but isn’t against bringing her current boyfriend to the same spot, as long as it’s spontaneous.

“The element of surprise is crucial,” she said.

Detective Anthony Anderson, of the Central Detective Division on 401 N. 21st St., said anyone caught having sex in public could face a fine, probation or even jail time, depending on prior criminal history.

Anderson said if someone has a clean record, he or she will most likely face what is called Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition, a type of probation for first-time offenders that leaves the possibility of having a record expunged, so long as the person doesn’t commit any other crimes.

One senior liberal arts major said she and her former girlfriend searched Paley high-and-low for a private place to get down, just because they thought it would be exciting.

She said they checked every closed door and finally settled on a room in the basement near Media Services.

“The very last door we checked was open, like a shining light calling out our names,” she said.

She said they emerged an hour or so later, after the library had closed, passing perplexed janitorial workers on their way out.

The senior liberal arts major, who has had sex in public on Main Campus more than once, said she doesn’t worry about getting caught because in her experience, bystanders are pretty oblivious.

“It’s fun, exciting and sneaky,” she said. “And then you go on like nothing happened.”

Leah Mafrica can be reached at


  1. What a great article, Leah! Way to lighten up the news in a time of stress for most people. Thanks for quoting me so much. 😉

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