Wayne State Student Senate reviewed fall operations for the Undergraduate Library and Purdy-Kresge Library and passed two resolutions regarding mental health at its virtual meeting Thursday.
Jill Wurm, WSU Library System associate director of Marketing and Communications, said the UGL will open under new hours to students and staff on Aug. 23. Current WSU COVID-19 guidelines will be followed, including the elimination of social distancing in WSU libraries.
“We’re going to have everybody coming back in through the front,” Wurm said. “You’re going to have to show your campus screener to get in. You’re going to have to be vaccinated, and we‘re going to have people going through the side door. That way it’s easier to check the screener coming in and out.”
Purdy-Kresge will also open Aug. 23, according to its calendar. Wurm said all floors of the UGL and Purdy-Kresge will be open this fall.
The UGL followed public health guidelines to restrict capacity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, The South End reported.
Wurm said new placement of some less popular items from the UGL created additional room for students.
“On the third floor, we have more collaborative space which takes the place of the stacks that were there because those books weren’t really circulating,” Wurm said. “So we figured we’d give people more places to study and hang out.”
Wurm and Library Director Mike Hawthorne said the UGL will not be open 24 hours for the fall semester. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UGL was open 24 hours daily, according to its website.
Uncertainty of how busy campus will be in the fall is a factor motivating the UGL’s new operating hours, Wurm said.
“We know from the registrar that there’s only about 2,000 classes that are taking place 100% on campus and that’s like a third of classes. Others are hybrid and others are completely online,” Wurm said. “So we just don’t know how much traffic we’re going to get and if it’s going to be the same.”
President Sailor Mayes said she was worried for students who utilized the UGL’s former 24 hour policy.
“That concerns me even for next semester (winter 2022) if we will be doing 24 hours. We need to keep that in place because it’s very important for students,” Mayes said.
Hawthorne said cutting hours at the UGL was partly due to financial reasons and a lack of employees.
“I hear what you’re saying, but it really comes down to economics and staffing,” Hawthorne said. “We just don’t have the capacity to absorb an extra eight hours to have the building open.”
Hawthorne and Wurm said they were interested in meeting with Senate halfway through the fall semester to discuss the necessity of extended library hours for students.
Senate and the UGL will work to make an agreement, Wurm said.
“Even if it wasn’t 24 hours, there might be other options,” Wurm said. “If it’s just the silent study area for certain nights, there might be some compromises we can make to help meet some of the needs you have, even if we can’t do the full-on 24 hour situation.”
There will be limited times of 24-hour UGL operations close to midterms and finals, Hawthorne and Wurm said. Details are yet to be determined.
Hawthorne said the UGL will be open Mondays through Thursdays 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fridays 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday between 11 a.m. to 11 p.m this fall. Purdy-Kresge will be open Mondays through Thursdays 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wurm said operating hours for certain services offered at the UGL differ from the library’s hours and are available on their individual websites. This includes the Warrior Writing, Research and Technology Zone; Irvin D. Reid Honors College; and the University Advising Center.
Senate also unanimously passed two resolutions after a brief presentation from School of Social Work Representative Rajan Varmon. The first resolution supports the designation of ADHD Awareness Month and Autism Acceptance Month as official university observances.
The second resolution supports official university observances of Mental Health Day for all undergraduate academic departments with an amendment to include graduate students.
Other actions taken include:
WSU now offers students an opportunity to update and change their pronouns online, Mayes said. The option is also available for faculty and staff.
Senate discussed potential changes to its bylaws that would accommodate mental health-related absences from meetings. Reinstatements would likely not be conducted via Facebook Live in order to protect senators’ privacy.
College of Nursing Representative Afifi Kadadu was unanimously reinstated into Senate following a summer externship at Ascension St. John Hospital.
The next Student Senate meeting will be held in person on Sept. 2. It will be in Hilberry C, on the second floor of the Student Center.
Irving Mejia-Hilario is the managing editor for The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo by Guneet Ghotra. She can be reached at email@example.com.