Library opens up to non-law students again
The furor over the CU law school’s decision to limit law library access only to law students subsided after a compromise occurred.
The law school dean, David Getches, decided earlier in the semester to allow library access only to law students because some law students complained about the disruption undergraduates caused in the academic environment there, according to UCSU executive Andrew Aitchison, a senior anthropology major.
The decision reached the ears of UCSU tri-executives, who then called law school officials to set up a meeting where they could discuss the decision. The law school backed off its previous decision of forbidding all non-law students, and allowed them access except during finals week after 6 p.m., Aitchison said.
Law library director Barbara Bintliff explained the reasons for the limited library access during finals.
“Law students pretty much fill up the library,” Bintliff said. “When they’re studying for finals, they need the information and resources here. We want to make sure everyone has space. We try to provide alternative space for students who do not need legal information.”
Vandalism was also a problem in the library during the semester, Bintliff said.
“We are a graduate professional school,” Bintliff said. “We have very clear behavioral expectations. We expect people to respect the building. We were having people trashing the restrooms, the snack bar and the classrooms. We made it clear that you would behave like an adult when you’re in this building.”
Madie Heidemann, a sophomore architectural engineering major, had a bad experience with the policy and thinks she should have access at all times.
“I got kicked out of the law library,” Heidemann said. “I don’t think it’s cool because it’s on our tuition bill. We have to pay for it.”
Aitchison said UCSU scheduled a meeting with Getches after they heard about the decision.
“We had set up a meeting with the dean of the law school,” Aitchison said. “We were going to try to find out what the best scenario was for all students.”
Aitchison said the new policy allows undergraduates access to the library before 6 p.m. After that, the library is only open to law students. Aitchison said the law library was a designated special-use building, where university officials can determine any policy they want and students don’t have much say.
Aitchison said he heard some of the reasons why the law school felt compelled to change its policy, but he disputed the merit of the reasons.
“I think there were a couple of instances where some chairs were put in the bathrooms or something like that,” Aitchison said. “Some students were using the classroom projectors to watch television. The behavior of the undergrads was found to be disruptive to the law students. These are all unproven allegations.”
Aitchison said he respected the law school dean’s compromise.
“He recognizes that all students helped contribute to that building,” Aitchison said. “But the law students themselves had an issue with the undergrads being in there. So I feel he mitigated the problem in a very responsible way by having certain times that law students are able to be in there. But at the same time, he recognized that all students should be allowed in there at some time, also.”