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Students protest Library hours through sit out

Published: Friday, August 30, 2013

Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 08:08

UPDATED: 7:36 a.m.

Students are protesting to restore 24/5 hours by sitting outside the USF Library. 

11:27 p.m.

About 10-12 protestors are setting up shop outside the exit. They come equipped with a blanket, a water cooler, power strips and study materials. 

University Police has sent an officer over to keep an eye on the area. The officer approaches the group and begins asking them questions.

"So what's the game plan?" he asks the group.

Melissa Garzon, a sophomore majoring in sociology, is the ring leader to for this protest, and explains to the officer what their cause is and why they're choosing to sit outside all night. 

The officer seems more intrigued. 

"So it's Student Government (SG) who doesn't want to fund the hours?" he asked.


Student Body President William Warmke met with Provost Ralph Wilcox and library officials this afternoon to discuss the options available to them in funding the library's extended hours. 

"Nothing tangible came from the meeting," Warmke said.

The meeting was called after Warmke requested to meet with the Provost to discuss funding options. The Library hours were cut from its 24/5 operational hours as the university implemented spending reductions and no longer had the funds to keep up the costs. Wilcox had said the hours, initially proposed by SG, were intended to be funded by SG, but SG never funded the initiative. 

A proposal was brought to SG this spring to allocate partial funding for extended Library hours from SG’s $14.1 million Activity and Service (A&S) fees budget, something each student pays into.

Warmke said SG didn’t think student fees should pay for a service that is at the core of academics, something he said he felt tuition should already cover. 

The survey SG conducted to gauge opinion has been taken by more than 1,700 students, Warmke said. More than 95 percent of survey takers said they felt the library's extended hours was an essential part to student success. 

The fourth question on the survey asked students if they agreed with the university cutting the library's hours, and placing their tuition dollars into a reserve account to be used for future spending. 

Warmke said 90 percent of survey takers did not agree. 

11:29 p.m.

There's about 25 people on the first floor, some playing on computers, others getting in some last minute studying. It's the first week of classes, so not that many people have homework at this point of the semester.

11:45 p.m.

Like clockwork, the loud speaker begins ushering students out of the library.

"Attention library patrons. The USF Library is now closed. Please collect your belongings and proceed to the first floor main entrance. Thank you."

Not many students get up, but some get annoyed with the repetitive reminder to leave and pack up their things. The baristas in Starbucks shuffle chairs around as they clean up the coffee shop. A University Police  (UP) officer is walking around the lobby and speaks with a library official.

"Thanks for coming by to help us," the official tells him. "We really appreciate it."

11:54 p.m.

A library official scans the first floor as UP stands guard. Everyone's starting to give up on blocking out the loud speaker's requests, and they make their way toward the exit. 

About eight people remain in the library.

11:58 p.m.

Outside the library, about 75 people are sitting with blankets and bottles of water. A photographer walks around snapping photos of students, who are discussing what brought them all here in the first place — the library's closure in two minutes.

"They're spending money on flavored condoms, but they can't afford to keep the library open?" one student casually asks his friends. 

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Wed Sep 4 2013 18:00
Look out in the real world at major universities. Not some small college like usf.

Thompson Library at Ohio State, Pattee Library at PSU, etc etc. midnight or 2AM at the latest.

Quit whining about not having a place to study. You live somewhere. Study there.

Tue Sep 3 2013 23:25
USF paid $400,000 to have an undervalued small College Football team play the Bulls and be the Bulls first win....Problem is someone for got to tell that team they were supposed to loose.

$400,000 for a Football SCAM.......but they cant find the money for the REAL STUDENTS.

Sat Aug 31 2013 23:36
As a current USF staff member who was a "library rat" as a student, I am very sympathetic to the protests. The library is a vital central hub of learning in any higher educational institution.

Having said that, let's face facts. Economic times are tough in America and particularly tough here in the State of Florida. Students need to be sensitive to the fact that state appropriations are declining each year and the University must remain financially sustainable.

So how about working out a compromise that would require students to become a little more flexible in their scheduling but also provide some needed off hours library access? I throw out an idea to start.

I would propose the student government association consider
(a) using student government to keep the library open 24 hours for the week to ten days prior to exam week each semester.
(b) using student government money to keep 1st floor study areas only (the rest of the library would not be accessible) open 2 nights a week (which 2 nights would be determined by a poll of the students).

While this would not provide 24/7 access to the library , this compromise would provide 2 days a week for all nighters and would also provide a week to 10 days of study access before exam week.

How about it?

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