SUNY Geneseo Administration: Demand rights and answers for students studying after-hours

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My name is Sean MacLean. I am a senior at SUNY Geneseo, and a member of the Edgar Fellows honors program. Our main building for the honors program is Doty Hall, to which we previously had 24-hour access for studying, but this was revoked in 2016 following an alleged security incident. Previously, if found after 5pm in the building, we were to be politely asked to leave by the janitorial staff. However, on May 3rd, 2018, around 5:20pm, I was informed by a janitor in Doty Hall that they have now been instructed to call University Police on any student found studying in the building after 5:00pm, without asking any questions nor asking the student to leave. Apparently, the janitors have already called University Police to remove groups of students from Doty as of this writing. This is an alleged new policy that was supposedly put in place in response to student complaints that the janitors were being rude to students when asking them to leave. 

No student should be in fear of police intervention when trying to find a place to quietly study. The fact that student complaints resulted in even more severe action against students is beyond comprehension and requires an answer. Our school administration has pursued an aggressive policy against after-hours study spaces in the past two years. Previously, 24-hour access was available to the Fraser library for all students, and 24-hour passes existed to many buildings. However, in my discussions with students, I learned that almost all of these privileges have been revoked within the last two years, with no official response or explanation. The administration has claimed to be pursuing a new 24-hour study place, but there has been little to no progress on this within the last two years. 

While we in the student body understand the need for student safety, these policies have primarily targeted hard-working college students simply looking to escape the loud dorms or off-campus spaces in which we are forced to study after-hours. SUNY Geneseo has a reputation for academic excellence, and yet policies such as these are damaging our reputation as a school that fosters academic growth and are very detrimental to student health and happiness, and are targeting the very body of students that this school wishes to attract. The academic rigor and workload of Geneseo often necessitates after-hours study, and as of now there are no locations offered by the school to quietly study after buildings close.
It is difficult to track an exact trend in these new policies, as there have been no formal announcements except for one email sent in October 2016, which was only to the honors college after 24-hour Doty access was revoked. However, the one notable fact is that almost all of these alleged policies targeting students studying after-hours have occured under our current president, Denise Battles, and have arisen within the last two years. As such, we in the Geneseo college community request an audience with President Battles and her cabinet to demand rights be given to students studying after-hours in academic buildings, and to ensure a safe and secure 24-hour space where students can study without fear of removal via police.

Thank you

Sean MacLean

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