After much protest by students and several meetings between the Student Government Association and faculty, Walsh Library’s hours of operation have been increased.
Although the hours have not been returned to the previous 24 hours a day, five days a week, weekday hours have been increased to accommodate students.
A broadcast e-mail was sent out on Sept. 10 stating that, effective Sept. 12, the hours of operation would be Sunday from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During final exams in December, library hours will return to 24 hours a day.
“I recognized the student input, and all this talking together helped discuss what we really need,” Chrysanthy Grieco, dean of the library, said.
According to Grieco, several meetings took place, with interim provost Larry Robison, student senator and chair of the Academic Affairs committee Bryan Lucas and SGA chief of staff Jesse Beutell, regarding the conflict and how to best go about solving the problem in the interest of students. Beutell and Lucas brought Grieco a letter from the SGA addressing the library cutbacks.
“Their arguments were kind of preaching to the choir,” Grieco said. “Nobody wants to cutback library hours, especially me.”
In the following weeks, after meeting with administrators, SGA senators and the Academic Affairs committee saw the concerns expressed by students and began to think of recommendations that would suit the needs of students best, while also dealing with the issues of funding which Dean Grieco outlined.
While Grieco and SGA worked together towards a resolution, each took their own independent initiatives in the effort to reach the best conclusion for students.
Grieco said SGA surveyed students in order to determine what their needs were. Grieco also asked students using the library what hours would work best for them. Understanding there were different needs, ranging from commuters needing morning hours to students needing a quiet study place after night class, SGA, Grieco and other involved parties reached the agreement for the extension to 1 a.m.
“It’s a hard thing when you are trying to accommodate students and you see money only goes so far,” Grieco said. “The students all recognized the problems, realized there were budget issues, and we still came to a consensus.”
SGA is happy with the University’s willingness to work with them and accommodate the students.
“The SGA Academic Affairs committee is very pleased with the response of the University administration to the concerns of the students,” Lucas said. “We are very happy that the SGA has been a service to the students and the administration on this issue.”
Junior business senator Audra Quintin, along with other students, circulated a petition on campus after the initial cutback of hours. The petition generated over 100 signatures in two days.
“I have so much confidence in the SGA to do what we are here to do, and help the students,” Quintin said. “However, I am disappointed that 1:00 a.m. is what we settled on.”
In the future, Grieco said she hopes to assemble a task force to discuss issues such as the library hours, in an attempt to make more permanent changes which best service the campus community as a whole.
“My heart is in academics, and you have to make everything accessible so students can use those academics,” Grieco said. “I am glad we could loosen the restraints for the greater good.”
Samantha Desmond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.