Tampa student organizers win fight to keep library open
Tampa, FL – Students at the University of South Florida (USF) won a campaign to keep their library open 24 hours per day. Returning USF students were surprised in August to find the library would be closed at midnight and re-opening at 7:00 a.m. everyday. This comes after years of open hours on the campus. The students defeated the cutbacks imposed by the University administration by organizing and taking action. The victory was announced Sept. 5.
At midnight on Friday, Aug. 30, as the library began to close for the night, about 90 USF students, including Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), began setting up camp for a sit-out protest. Some students studied for their classes, while others struck up conversations about how the students could take further actions to make positive changes on campus and in society. Melissa Garzon, a lead organizer of the sit-out, said, “I did not expect the large turnout. The restoration of library hours is a testament to the power that students can have.”
Jared Hoey of Tampa Bay SDS said, “The administration's attempt at shortening the library's hours is an attack on students and learning. Many students have to work at jobs, in addition to taking classes, due to surging tuition costs. Late nights and early mornings are the only time some students are free to go to the library, and this attempt at shortening hours is a direct affront. It shows the administration’s lack of concern for students. The administration claims budget shortfalls.”
On Sept. 5, William Warmke, student government president, announced the administration’s reversal of the cutbacks. Students won a solid victory with the library once again open 24 hours a day during the week.