Library hours funded by hiring freeze

When the Library re-opened at the beginning of the semester after much student protest of its closure during extended hours due to a lack of funding, various segments of the university did not settle on a solution that would provide long-term funding.

Currently, the Library is running on funds saved during this summer’s hiring freeze, which has since been lifted, and positions that have been left unfilled, while administrators and Student Government (SG) continue to search for a long-term solution to cover costs needed to fund the Library during extended hours.

“The question is, now that the Library is now open, what do we have to do to fund it?” Nick Setteducato, executive director for financial management and planning, said.

At the start of the fiscal year in July, Setteducato said USF President Judy Genshaft requested a hiring freeze that would leave many administrative positions open until it was lifted.

“That has caused a considerable amount of strain on some departments where the people who are left within the department are being forced to do more work, than if those positions were filled,” Setteducato said. “What we’ve done is left positions open throughout the campus.”

He said these positions are all like his, or “back-office administrative positions,” that range from positions in the Patel Center for Global Solutions to college administration and support units.

“It’s not anybody’s job that is existing we’ve let go, but it’s jobs that somebody left and we’ve left open and are accumulating savings,” Setteducato said.

These savings, he said, are what are currently being used to “cover that shortfall (of $136,000 for this year) in the Library.” These positions, including the 75 positions needing to be filled that are posted on USF’s career website, can range from $30,000 salaries to positions such as Setteducato’s, which have $135,000 salaries, according to the state’s payroll database.

Add up these salaries and divide them by the number of months the positions were left open (three, since the hiring freeze was lifted in the first week of October), and one can find the money being used to fund the Library, Setteducato said.

“There is going to come a point where we will no longer be able to ask people who are in those roles to take and absorb the work for those positions that are left open, but we are hoping by leaving them open for a period of time, especially since they had to be open during the freeze from July, that they will generate enough savings to offset this year’s cost of the Library,” he said.

USF student body President William Warmke said SG is working with administration to find long-term solutions to fund the Library’s hours.

The SG Senate’s Activity and Service Fee (A&S) Recommendation Committee, he said, is looking at various campus programs to see which one SG can fund in the future to alleviate spending for Academic Affairs, so that the university can fund the Library without using student A&S fees.

“I am certainly open to exploring different avenues, but I am not yet committed to anything,” Warmke said.