USF students protest new library hours - WFLA News Channel 8

USF students protest new library hours

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Some USF students pulled an all nighter Thursday. They weren't partying, they were protesting. Due to budget cuts, USF's library is no longer open overnight.

In 2009, the library started extended hours five nights a week from midnight to 7:30 a.m. at the request of student government.  Starting this semester, the library now closes at midnight. 

"They [extended hours] were not part of the library budget, but an extra that was provided by directing cash resources at the end of the year to cover the costs of library personnel and security to keep the library open," Chachere explained in a written statement.

More than 1,000 students signed an online petition to ask the University to restore the extended library hours. When that didn't work, students say they began organizing a protest on Facebook. A few dozen students spent the night studying outside the library Friday morning as a show of support for the library's extra hours.

"Look at these students. Do you think we want to sit out here with the mosquitoes and bugs and everything? We need our library hours," said USF Sophomore Melissa Garzon. "It's crucial to academic success. People work in the day. People have other classes in the day. We use the library hours between 12 o'clock a.m. and 7:30 in the morning."

USF's Student Government President William Warmke says he is trying to work with administrators to come up with a solution.

"The University is facing budget cuts as well as many institutions in our state," said Warmke. "But this one was one thing they felt wasn't necessary for student success, but is an added on service. We don't believe this is an added on service. We think students depend on this, especially students who work jobs to put themselves through school. and we think it's essential for student success."

Chachere said it costs more than $136,000 to keep the library open overnight each year. 

USF's Provost has agreed to extend the library's hours during finals and mid-terms this semester.  University officials are also trying to find room in the budget to keep the library open longer during the rest of the year. 

"Currently we are looking at areas in our student affairs budget where expenses can be shifted to other funding sources, freeing up cash to cover the extended library hours," Chachere explained.

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