Thursday, February 4, 2010

UCD Administration Tries, Fails to Coopt Library Study-In

Direct action works, but watch out for co-optation. Once again, it's UCD Chancellor Katehi, trying to make it seem like the library study-in was her idea all along. Professor Nathan Brown writes a letter (Katehi's email follows):
Dear Colleagues,

In a message just circulated to the UCD community, the Chancellor has announced that Shields Library will be open 24 hrs through the weekend, in response to a planned Study-In which several groups have been organizing over the past few weeks. The study-in -- intended to protest reductions in library funding and insufficient student space on campus (including the planned closure of the Davis Student Co-Op this summer) -- has been publicized through flyers, posters, and Facebook, with over 650 people having indicated that they plan to attend:

It is no doubt this overwhelmingly supportive response to the planned study-in that forced the hand of the administration in extending library hours over the weekend. I have attached two flyers with basic information about the action, which you might distribute to your classes beforehand. People will gather at the MU patio at 4pm tomorrow, and then move to the library thereafter.

Now that the administration's approach to handling the event has clarified itself, I'm writing both to comment on the process that lead to this outcome and to invite faculty to attend over the weekend -- and perhaps to speak on the situation of library funding. Robert Samuels (President, UC-AFT), Jarue Manning (Biological Sciences), and Bob Ostertag (Music/Technocultural Studies) are already scheduled to speak on Friday evening (they committed to speak prior to the Chancellor's announcement). If you would like to speak or to run a workshop in Shields on Saturday or Sunday, please let me know.

In assessing the response of the administration, it seems important to note that Chancellor Katehi's decision to hold the library open is in no way the result of any process of negotiation or of mutual concessions. The stance of the organizers toward the administration has been one of indifference. The event was planned and publicized openly, but it was not announced directly to either campus or library administrators. This is a case in which the will of students to act has resulted in a recognition by the administration that their will cannot be ignored. The same decision-makers who unceremoniously ordered a mass-arrest of students for being in a building after-hours in November seem to have calculated, in this instance, that the balance of forces is not in their favor.

In other words: direct action works.

I hope that the study-in this weekend will be an important event in building links among activist students, staff, and faculty, and in building momentum toward the state-wide Day of Action on March 4.

In solidarity,

Nathan Brown
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of California, Davis

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Chancellor Katehi and Provost Lavernia
Date: Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 10:11 AM
Subject: Library Weekend Study Hall
To: UC Davis Community Members

Dear UC Davis Community Members,

This weekend's announced "study in" at Shields Library reflects a shared concern -- the need for adequate student study space, especially during peak testing periods and despite significant budget cuts that have affected every corner of the campus.

With midterms pressing, and with the Library's 24-hour reading room overly crowded, we have asked our head librarians to take steps to keep Shields open as a study hall throughout this weekend.

The extended hours -- from 7:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 5, through midnight Sunday, Feb. 7 -- will expand quiet study opportunities in designated areas of the Library. Library services will be limited during the extended evening hours (for example, Reserves, Inter-Library Loan, Circulation and Reference Services will not be offered then), but some staff will be available to assist patrons.

The Library's Use and Conduct Code ( and our Principles of Community will apply throughout the weekend, helping to ensure for everyone a welcoming, comfortable and safe environment in which to study. If the weekend proves successful, we'll give every consideration to expanded hours during finals week, as well.

In addition, designated quiet space will also be available this weekend during the Memorial Union's and ARC's normal hours (MU: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 12-5 p.m. Saturday; ARC: 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m.-midnight Sunday).

We do understand the overall concerns that have been expressed about the Library's funding. The Library is the heart of an academic institution and a shared asset of inestimable value. While it's not been possible to completely protect the Library from budget cuts -- our budget challenges are simply too great -- we have tried to shield the Library by assessing cuts that are less than half those assessed administrative units. Looking forward, we are eager to receive the advice of a newly formed Joint Senate-Administration Task Force on the Future of the Library that will develop short- and long-term recommendations to ensure an intellectually vibrant Library that serves our UC Davis community well.

We wish you well in your studies this weekend and in the examinations that follow.


Linda P.B. Katehi

Enrique J. Lavernia
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

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