This Friday, Dec. 9 students with a common goal will be occupying the Sojourner Truth Library in an effort to showcase their displeasure with the current hours of operation that are available to students.
We at The New Paltz Oracle applaud these students’ efforts to crusade for a cause, but we question certain aspects of their plan to achieve change.
While the protest has been shoehorned as part of the greater “Occupy” movement – a clear effort to gain notoriety and interest – we are incredibly impressed with these students’ ability to bring a national issue to a level that resonates with our student community.
It is also clear that the library’s reduced hours are nowhere near acceptable for an institution like SUNY New Paltz. As “America’s hottest small state school,” we should not be short-changing our students and their educational needs in an effort to save funds in a challenging financial climate. How can we tout ourselves as a progressive and growing collegiate campus when we cut off students from the heart of academic growth, the library, at 9 p.m. each night?
If New Paltz truly is striving to become a gem of the SUNY system, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and stop pinching pennies in areas that affect academics. It is unacceptable that we have the lowest amount of hours of operations among major SUNY campuses. It’s time for a change.
The petition these students have been circulating states that SUNY New Paltz’s mission statement ensures access to “high quality education” for students to utilize in their effort for further academic enrichment. How can students become more well-rounded members of society if the doors are tightly locked at such an absurdly early hour each day?
While we agree with these students that action needs to be taken, the timing of their protest is poor.
A protest during the week leading up to final examinations would seemingly make the most impact, but it risks creating a distraction for those who are trying to study for their all-too-stressful end of the semester projects and exams.
Also, planning the protest during finals week does not allow for the maximum amount of students to become involved. In a time where the average student is locked in their residence hall, or (until they are kicked out of) the library, hitting the books and having their noses buried in their overpriced textbooks, it is not an opportune time to inspire people to get involved. Students simply don’t have the time to give a cause as important as this the required time.
Finally, we hope the students involved with organizing this protest are aware of the fact that student senators are actively trying to solve this problem through diplomatic means. If the organizers do know this, we hope they will work hand in hand with our elected officials. If they are not aware, we want to stress the importance of our Student Association leaders and their ability to bring about change on our campus. Getting involved with the SA is the best way to change policies we as students are not content with, and by joining committees, students would get opportunities to discuss matters with campus decision makers the average student does not.
We hope students will take the time to protest these unjust hours. This is our school, and we have a right to a better learning environment.