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Resolution recommends drastic increase in library hours

Maddie Hanna | Thursday, January 26, 2006

A resolution proposed by the Student Senate’s Academic Affairs committee intended for night owls who like to study past 2 a.m. passed with little controversy at the group’s Wednesday night meeting.

Committee member and Carroll senator Jim Grace presented the resolution, which recommends the Hesburgh Library stay open 24 hours a day from 8 a.m. Sunday until 2 a.m. Thursday and open 24 hours during the unofficial midterms week before spring break.

Given dorm overcrowding, inadequate study space around campus, resources specific to the Library, other colleges’ procedures and the simple nature of college life, the committee argues, it would be reasonable to extend Library hours.

“Some students are getting swept out of the Library – not literally, but figuratively,” committee chair Chris Harris said.

Currently, the Hesburgh Library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday.

While the hours requested in the resolution are the “best case scenario,” Harris said his committee would be willing to compromise.

Several senators questioned the logistics of extending the hours, but Grace explained that Library officials wanted to see a Senate proposal before digging into the matter.

Grace said he was told the finances for the project would “most likely” come from the Library’s budget to buy new books and that keeping one floor of the Library open later was not feasible due to fire codes.

Knott senator Jacques Nguyen wondered if Library officials had already considered the potential of drawing “unwanted visitors” by keeping the Library open 24 hours.

In other Senate news:

Student body president Dave Baron said he would like Senate to respond to University President Father John Jenkins’ request to start dialogue about academic freedom at Notre Dame.

Consequently, the University Affairs, Gender Issues and Academic Affairs committees each will begin to explore this topic.

It’s to get as many ideas “out on the floor as possible, so Father Jenkins can hear them,” Baron said. “That’s what he asked us to do.”

Students will not make a presentation at next week’s Board of Trustees meeting in Rome, but student government will still send a brief report, student body president Lizzi Shappell said.

The report will update trustees on student government’s activities since the October Board meeting and will mention community relations issues, the Transpo agreement, Eating Disorders Awareness Week, the Catholic Think Tank speaker series and the proposed cultural competency requirement, among other topics.

After crime rocked several students’ off-campus apartments over break, it’s clear community relations are still an important issue.

So student government has further wedded itself to the cause, encouraging students to join neighborhood watches and researching alarm systems, Baron said.

He will speak on behalf of the Notre Dame student body regarding the disorderly house ordinance – arguing that notices to abate should allow the chance to abate – at an upcoming South Bend Common Council meeting, tentatively Feb. 27.

“We don’t want to make this a surprise action,” he said.

The laundry room in the basement of LaFortune has been converted to a study lounge, said Brian Coughlin, director of Student Activities.

He said the East Lounge is a quiet “but not silent” study space.

“We recognize the [main] basement lounge is much more of a social atmosphere,” Coughlin said.