A survey conducted by Student Government (SG) last week about the Library’s overnight hours being cut due to a lack of funding showed the majority of students wants the extended hours back, student body President William Warmke said at an SG meeting Tuesday.
“Student Government has never funded an academic entity and it shouldn’t,” he said. “That’s not the intent of the Activity and Services (A&S) fee. Student Government whole-heartedly believes that you shouldn’t pay twice for the same service. You pay your tuition and we believe that should be allocated to the library. The A&S fees shouldn’t have to supplement that.”
The survey received more than 1,800 responses in two days.
In the survey, 83 percent of students said they have been in the Library between midnight and 7:30 a.m. and 95 percent of respondents said they believe the extended library hours are essential to student success.
Responding to the survey at the first SG senate meeting of the semester on Tuesday, Warmke said he has been meeting with university officials to find alternative funding sources for extending library hours, but stayed firm in his commitment that SG will not fund the extension.
Since the start of the semester, members of SG have been discussing the hours with members of administration, including the Provost and Dean for Students.
Warmke said he has asked to speak with the university’s chief financial officer to see where the university is allocating funding before he
considers providing supplemental funding.
“We are requesting to see their budgets and where their money is going before they start asking us for money,” Warmke said.
If discussions with administration don’t produce a solution, Warmke said he would consider having SG participate in student protests.
“Since we are discussing possible alternatives and solutions (with administration) we don’t want to take any aggressive stance,” Warmke said. “But if no compromise is reached, I’m perfectly open to Student Government hosting these sit-ins, hosting these letter writing campaigns,
hosting these things to get the administration’s attention so they recognize the inherent need to restore the Library’s hours.”
Jean Cocco, a senior majoring in political science and international relations and a senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, said the Library’s cut hours is a tough issue for SG to sort through.
“I don’t want to see the A&S fee used in that regard,” Cocco said. “Once you allow the A&S fee to be put to academic use, that’s going to take from our ability to have the student voice in terms of what we fund on campus.”
While no official SG events have been planned regarding the Library’s extended hours, Cocco said it is essential for SG to work on informing the student body on the situation to ensure students know where their fee money is going, and why.
“It’s just going to take a mass education campaign on our part so students
understand what exactly is going on in terms of how the fees work,” Cocco said.
During the SG meeting, one senator asked Warmke if he would consider supplying the extra funding for just this year, but Warmke said he is wary of that option.
“Our fear is that if we commit to paying for something for Academic Affairs, then they’ll come back next year and say ‘You already paid for it one year, just pay for it this year,’” Warmke said. “We don’t want to open these flood gates where Student Government can’t go back because that’s not what the A&S fees are for.”
Students who protested the cut in the Library’s hours are planning to write letters to university administration, including USF President Judy Genshaft. Melissa Garzon, a sophomore majoring in sociology and the student who organized the Library sit-out, said she will be outside the Library this afternoon with paper and pens, asking students to write letters to Genshaft about their thoughts on the changed hours.12