Council Gives Yet Another Depressing Library Presentation

The first meeting of the quarter commenced with public input from alumnus Tobias Haglund, who works with Young Life — a faith-based youth outreach for families with disabilities. Haglund promoted a three-day “fast” where you don’t use a part of the body — a sentiment I would have appreciated had I not had to watch the accompanying video that felt religiously imposing.

President Wafa Ben Hassine then gave an Office of the President update with her Internal Press Secretary Reem Ateyeh.

Ben Hassine is working on a Ban the Bottle project with the Student Sustainability Collective, Housing and Dining and University Centers to get rid of water bottles in all dining halls and Price Center. Ben Hassine will be meeting with HDH director Mark Cunningham this week to discuss the proposal.

Global Affairs Intern Melissa Etehad is working on a U.S.-Mexico borders project where students will visit work collectives and museums on the border. This trip will give students exposure to the conditions of poverty.

Higher Education Intern Arshya Sharifian is working on a Dorm Accessible Voting Resolution, which permits student leaders to knock on the doors of students living on campus to talk to them about federal elections and increase student voter turnout. Or, a new form of spam under the guise of voting!

Campuswide Senator Anish Bhayani gave another depressing presentation about the libraries. The medical center library in Hillcrest will close on April 1. The SIO, IR/PS, CLICS and the Science and Engineering libraries will close in June. Bhayani said this is the best-case scenario because it is the least amount the libraries can cut. He said there may be more cuts in the future.  There have already been multiple decreases in library staff, student jobs and facility hours since the 2007-08 fiscal year. But there have been increases in students, academic faculty, staff and activity levels since then.

Roughly $6 million has been cut from the library budget since 2007-08. The campus budget is $635 million and the libraries’ budget is $25 million, or 3.9 percent of the campus core budget. The campus core budget is being cut by 10 percent and, logically, the maximum cut for libraries should be $2.3 to $2.4 million.

Administrators say to prepare for a $3- to $6-million cut. Another places where the budgets could be cut is administration, faculty and staff benefits, but administrators refuse to reduce their benefits.

The medical center library, science and engineering and SIO libraries will be consolidated into the Biomedical Center Library. CLICS and IR/PS will be consolidated into Geisel Library. On a brighter note, the science and engineering will be open 24 hours Sunday-Thursday next year.

The future state of our libraries is dire. Bhayani’s presentation time allotment was extended multiple times to allow him to answer questions from concerned councilmembers.  Bhayani suggested spamming the Chancellor’s inbox as one of the best ways to reach the administration.