The following press release was sent out by a group of UCD student organizers as a response to Chancellor Linda Katehi’s letter to the UCD community and in anticipation of tomorrows action at Shield’s Library.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Laura Mitchell, 650-714-5318
Adrian Wilson, 919-619-8522
One Day Before UC Davis Library Study-In, Chancellor Makes Partial Concession to Students
Students to Hold Mass Study-In on Friday to Protest Budget Cuts to Student Space on Campus
(Davis, CA) – On the eve of a mass study-in and protest at UC Davis’s Shields Library, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi circulated an email to all University staff and students in which she agreed to keep the library open 24 hours over the weekend of Feb. 5-7. Katehi also acknowledged students’ protests for more student space on campus and proper funding of library services, and conceded that the University had not been able to adequately protect the library from the recent draconian wave of funding cuts. Katehi’s conciliatory announcement was made under pressure from hundreds of student activists, who will be holding a mass study-in at Shields Library over the weekend, starting on Friday at 5:00pm.
In her statement, announcing that the library would be open 24 hours during the weekend of Feb. 5-7, Chancellor Katehi stated that “this weekend’s announced ‘study in’ at Shields Library reflects a shared concern – the need for adequate student study space.” She also said that she can “understand the overall concerns that have been expressed about the Library’s funding,” and acknowledged that “it’s not been possible to completely protect the Library from budget cuts.”
This weekend’s study-in – which an estimated 400-700 students plan to attend – is being held to protest the impact of misguided budget decisions by the UC Administration, which have restricted the amount of study space available to students on the UC Davis campus. Student activists believe that the University’s failure to adequately fund campus libraries – a critical student study space – is a clear example of the Administration’s misplaced budget priorities.
“We’re tired of student services bearing the brunt of the University’s budget cuts,” said Sarah Raridon, a UC Davis senior. “At the study-in tomorrow, we’re going to stand up against student space cuts, and challenge Chancellor Katehi to turn her rhetoric into meaningful changes in how student space is funded and governed on campus.”
UC Davis library spending per student has been slashed by a massive 30% since 2001 – including huge cuts in 2003 and 2004, before the state budget crisis hit. The number of full-time librarians has also been cut, from 280 in 1992 to 203 in 2007. These cuts have had a huge impact on the library’s quality: the ranking of the UC Davis library dropped from 38th in the country in 2001 to 72ndin 2008, and further cuts over the past year will lead to a further decline. Students and staff are upset as many of the budget issues at the library pre-date the current budget crisis, and are seen as symptomatic of the overall mismanagement of vital university resources.
“Two weeks ago, the UC Regents approved a $321 million renovation of UC Berkeley’s football stadium,” said Laura Mitchell, a UC Davis senior. “At the same time, UC campuses are laying off librarians and cutting library funding. UC clearly has enough money to adequately fund student services; it’s a question of how that money’s being distributed.”
Students will gather for the study-in on the Memorial Union patio at 4:00 pm on Friday, Feb. 5; they will then move to Shields Library and begin the study-in at 5:00 pm. Scheduled speakers at the study-in will include Robert Samuels, President of the UC’s American Federation of Teachers union; several UC Davis professors; library staff; and numerous student activists. Almost 700 students have stated that they plan to attend the study-in.
For more information, please contact Laura Mitchell at 650-714-5318 or
Adrian Wilson at 919-619-8522, or visit the website at http://ourucdavis.org .
Interview and photo/video opportunities will be available, and interview/photo/video content from inside the study-in will be made available on the website on an ongoing basis.