Last semester, students rallied together in support of the institution of additional library operation hours to Sojourner Truth Library to bring SUNY New Paltz up to par with other SUNY campuses. In response to the student occupation, library administrators brought the reduced hours back to their previous state.
We at The New Paltz Oracle believe the library’s restoration of hours was a step in the right direction, but fell short of truly adhering to the requests of the students they are intending to serve.
Looking at signage in the library you would think the opposite, however the hours are not an extension, but rather a restoration to the status quo of pre-occupation hours. Not only is this a slap-in-the-face to the respectful protests the students involved meticulously planned, but it shows that budget considerations have truly taken precedence over student needs and desires.
With the new renovations planned for the library, including an “open and responsive” floor that is conducive to “group study,” is it not fair to ask that students opinions and voices be heard to incorporate that into the larger plan?
The students who occupied the library in the final weeks of last semester were lauded for their respectful manner in which they voiced their opinion, and even SUNY New Paltz’s top administrators have admitted that the hours being extended was not a farfetched idea. Interim Provost Cheryl Torsney said the addition of hours, especially on Sunday mornings, was not an “unreasonable” request.
If one of the campuses top administrators agrees with the idea of more library hours and students clearly and calmly voiced their views with a respectful protest, library officials need to recognize this and act on the opinions of those they are obligated to serve.
We understand that the economic climate is not favorable and any cost-cutting measures are deserving of discussion, but short-changing students who wish to spend their time studying to further their academic endeavors seems like penny-pinching rather than a well-thought out budget reduction. If SUNY New Paltz is striving to become a “gem” of the SUNY system, it seems foolish for us to have one of the lowest amount of library operating hours compared to other schools. If we are boasting that our school is an academic beacon, how can we justify our gym hours being more assessable than our library ones?
At the end of last semester, the library’s hours were restored in time for finals, which was a welcomed gesture by administrators. However, with the renovations currently about to engulf the library, some students are worried about potential access.
While there won’t be any closings, “satellite locations” are being explored that would serve students’ needs, such as computer access or printing ability. We hope that in the midst of the confusion and construction, we do not lose sight of the message the student’s Occupy movement attempted to instill.
If there are absolutely no options to extend hours in the midst of the library already lowering their ability to serve students, it would bee hove administration to seriously take into account the respectful demands of the students they are paid to serve.