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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Students, faculty reclaim study space in library ‘study-in’

Nearly 40 students and faculty spent the night in the bookracks of Shields Library on Friday after a night of teach-ins, activism and studying.

Students remained in the library until Sunday night, attending workshops pertaining to the UC budget and the surrounding activism. Students also held yoga sessions, a dance party and a self-defense workshop, they also heard from several keynote speakers such as University Council-American Federation of Teachers President Bob Samuels and Technocultural Studies professor Bob Ostertag.

“The key to organizing is raising expectations,” Ostertag said in his speech. “When people expect more from their university, they go into action. We need to transfer the culture of the campus so people think it’s credible that it could be different.”

Samuels discussed his criticism of UC, claiming that it’s a myth that the UC can’t use profits it gains from its auxiliary services like parking or other programs that generate revenue on academic instruction.

Members of MEChA also spoke.

Prior to the study-in, Chancellor Linda Katehi and Provost Enrique Lavernia informed students in an e-mail that the library would remain open from Friday night until midnight on Sunday.

“Even if there’s only 50 of us, even if there’s only 75 of us, even if there’s only 100 of us, we’ve changed the configuration of the university this week,” said English professor Nathan Brown. “We’ve shown we can declare we’re going to be in a space and keep it open and use it the way that we want.”

Many students agreed that although keeping the library open all weekend was a kind gesture, it was not necessary to hold the protest.

“It doesn’t have an effect on the protest,” said Brian Sparks, senior international relations major. “We weren’t waiting for their approval since we planned this before they sent that e-mail.”

Although extending library hours during the weekend required some librarians to remain on staff as volunteers, many supported the study-in.

“Students should be able to express how they feel financially,” said Becky Moore, a staff member in the library who was present during the study-in. “Allowing [the students] to protest inside the library will make sure everything and anyone is safe. The library is about safety for students.”

This academic year, the library took a 5.5 percent cut, which resulted in fewer incoming books and journal subscriptions. In the e-mail, Katehi and Lavernia informed students and faculty of a Joint Senate-Administration Task Force on the Future of the Library designed to make recommendations for the library’s budget.

– Lauren Steussy, Mike Dorsey, Janelle Bitker, Kyle Sporleder and Erin Migdol contributed to this report


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