Letters to the Editor: 11.8.13

I am writing in regard to The News’ article on their view of the decision to end 24-hour library service to students at Waterfield. As a student and obviously as a member of SGA, I am quite disappointed with this piece. This is probably one of the more misinformed articles The News has written. Although this is an opinion letter that reflects their view of what is going on throughout Murray State, more facts need to be collected before prematurely publishing such an article.

I am definitely biased as I am a member of SGA representing the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, but I believe I possess a fair voice in discussing the points presented. To make things easier on all readers, I will combat each point of this article as they appear.

“There’s a lot of blame to go around here and we have a lot of bones to pick with the parties that are ultimately responsible for the end of extended library hours at Murray State.”

First off, the blame should also be put on The News as there was not much publicity about the consideration to change the hours before the decision was made. It is their duty to inform the student population about big events or changes taking place at Murray State and to me this is an article that is too little, too late.

“We also want to take issue with the idea that anything needs to be cut in the first place. Last year’s budget review teams and the recommendations made by those teams made clear that the University isn’t exactly hurting for money, funding cuts from Frankfort notwithstanding.”

With this I am not sure if there was an ounce of consideration to check the numbers, but the recommendations that were to be implemented account for more than $5 million in cuts and more than $1 million in added revenue. These numbers come from Murray State’s own website. One of these cuts also ended with a Murray State employee losing her job (that would have been a great article as well); so to say the least I don’t think the University has a plethora of money to spend as The News states above.

“The SGA, which ultimately made the call to cut extended library hours, perhaps deserves the most blame for failing in its most basic mission – standing up for the interests of students.

The fact that SGA would not go to bat for students who rely on extended library hours is part of a wider problem at Murray State; that of near total student disempowerment.

Students, whom this University is supposed to house, feed and educate, have had no say in this matter.

We should no longer pretend that the SGA adequately represents the student body at Murray State.”

These are the quotes that irritate me the most, not just because I am an SGA member but that someone is dim enough to say that an organization made by students of Murray State do not represent the college adequately. The decisions that the SGA makes affect our members just as much as it affects any other student on Murray State’s campus because we are all just that, students at Murray State. To declare that students have no say in the matter seems ignorant to me because it was students who approved the decision to cut library hours.

“The last SGA elections, like most SGA elections, was marked with extremely low voter turnout and few real choices. Students do not have a way to voice their discontent through the SGA so long as the SGA does not and will not act in the interest of students.”

It is hard to argue here, I definitely feel that the majority of the students know that there is not much participation in SGA elections, but maybe more publicity on elections could help this issue out!

Although I agree not much student participation in voting exists, I do not believe there are “few real choices” available to elect. If the persons who wrote this article believe they would be a better representation, they have the opportunity to run themselves.

“Extended library hours are a Murray State tradition worth preserving. Students needing extra time to study should have a place to do so and they should be able to do so whenever they feel like doing so.”

This is my final criticism of The News’ article. If some research would have been made, then it would have been known that the library has been open for 24 hours on finals week only for the past three years and extended hours were seen four years ago. This is not a “Murray State tradition,” it has been a recent event that the library has tried and ultimately could not afford.

To conclude, this is a poorly opinionated article that does not present evidence of why 24-hour library service should be available to students outright. I agree that it would be quite convenient to stay in the library all night because I will most likely be up that late studying as well, but at what cost should we keep the library open all night?

When there are less than 100 students present at the library in the wee hours of the morning, is it fair to take money that ALL students pay in their tuition to keep the library open for them? Is it worth spending $6,000 out of the SGA’s budget a year compared to $0 just to keep the library open for a few more hours a night when a small fraction of the students are using it? I personally don’t think it is – for two reasons.

First, I don’t believe it will negate students from studying if they were going to anyway and second, I feel that the money we don’t spend for 24-hour library service can be better spent in a variety of ways on campus as the SGA budget is not designed to support a cost that the library should be covering completely.

By compromising with the University Libraries, SGA has successfully extended library hours so that more than the majority of students that utilize the library will be covered in their time there.

This, I believe, was the best choice for the students at Murray State and I feel it will serve the best interests of the University and students alike.

 

Letter by Chris Koechner, Senior from Marion, Ill.