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Rockefeller Library hours extended

Decision aims to address student concern over studying in SciLi following grad student death

In response to student feedback, administrators extended Rockefeller Library access to 24 hours Monday through Thursday. Students expressed discomfort with studying in the Sciences Library after Hyoun Ju Sohn GS jumped out of a 12th-floor window of the building April 1, said University Librarian Harriette Hemmasi.

The Rock will maintain its normal operating hours Friday and Saturday, closing at 10 p.m. During reading period, which begins April 24, the library will be open 24 hours every day.

Hemmasi said after students confided their concerns, she and Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn discussed the possibility of changing the Rock’s hours.

“Because of this tragic event, students may want another space to study in,” Hemmasi said.

At an Undergraduate Council of Students open forum April 2, council members raised the suggestion of lengthening the Rock’s hours. UCS President Maahika Srinivasan ’15 said at a UCS general body meeting April 9 that the longer hours were “a direct result of the conversations” at the previous week’s open forum.

The University did not hire more staff members to work during the longer hours, instead extending the contracts and hours of the Department of Public Safety officers who patrol at night, she said.

Services in the Rock, such as those at the circulation desk, will close at midnight, but the study space will continue to be open throughout the night, Hemmasi said. The library will be cleaned more frequently to maintain the sanitation of the space amidst increased use, she said.

The motion-sensor lights in the SciLi stacks on floors five through 14 will be kept on at all times for safety purposes, she added.

Several students voiced approval of the longer hours.

Anna Pierobon ’16, a dual concentrator in anthropology and political science, said she has frequently wished she could stay in the Rock — where most of her concentrations’ books are located — past 2 a.m.

The longer hours demonstrate a positive administrative move, as many students may have negative associations with the SciLi and opt to study at the Rock, Pierobon said. The change also shows that “arts, humanities and social sciences are appreciated by the University,” she added.

Alexandra Djorno ’18 said she appreciates that the Rock is now an available space for late-night studying, noting that the SciLi basement often becomes crowded later.


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