Policies prioritize Yale-NUS community

story Lay Ying Tong, Deputy News Editor

Campus Facilities - Photograph by Serena Quay

Signs have been placed in and around the Library area to reflect new policies. (Serena Quay)

Measures to limit access to the Library and adjoining study spaces for those outside the Yale-NUS College community were announced last week. These policies were decided by the Educational Resources and Technology Office (ERT) and the Library, with input from the Yale-NUS College Student Government.

The Student Government first raised the space crunch issue in the Library in early September, in response to feedback from students, Government representative Tee Zhuo ’18 said. They polled students on library and meeting room access and library etiquette. Based on poll results, they submitted a report to Director of ERT Ken Panko and Head Librarian Steve Shorb on Sept. 18, suggesting an exclusive 24-hour study area and exclusive Group Study Rooms. The Library and ERT did not respond.

On Oct. 6, Interim Dean of Students Brian McAdoo sent out an update on Library and campus access policies to the Yale-NUS community. Not all of Student Government’s suggestions were reflected in this email, possibly as a result of miscommunication, Tee said. Mr. McAdoo could not be reached for comment by press time.

The Student Government met with Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs) Tan Tai Yong, Mr. Panko, and Mr. McAdoo on Oct. 9 for a scheduled meeting. Later that day, Mr. Panko sent out an email to “amend and add to points” in Mr. McAdoo’s previous email. Mr. Panko’s email clarified that the Library would be restricted to the Yale-NUS community from 6 pm onwards, not 8 pm onwards as stated in Mr. McAdoo’s email. Mr. Panko mentioned additionally that the 24-hour study space was reserved for Yale-NUS only, and that the Group Study Room restrictions would be enforced by a key checkout policy.

“[The Student Government] has a good sense of the issues on the ground […] and it’s always good to hear from student representatives about how students are feeling,” Mr. Tan said. “But of course, we also have larger things to consider…such as space, security and identity and relations. [The Student Government] understands those issues and is trying to find a nice balance.”

The new facilities usage policies “help prioritize the Yale-NUS community’s use of the Yale-NUS Library space while still providing services to the broader [National University of Singapore] community,” Mr. Panko wrote on Oct. 9.

“We always knew there would be some interaction between the NUS community and the Yale-NUS community in the Library, but we decided to adopt the wait-and-see approach,” Mr. Panko said in an interview. “We’ve been keeping an eye on [the situation] since we opened in May.”

By Oct. 14, Library entrance doors will be locked after 6 pm on weekdays, four hours before the 10 pm closing time. During this time, only Yale-NUS student or staff cards will be able to unlock the doors. Library doors will remain unlocked for the rest of Library opening hours.

The adjoining 24-hour study area and Group Study Rooms, located one level above the Library, will be reserved for the Yale-NUS community. Enforcement of this policy will rely on “the honor system and community reinforcement,” Mr. Panko wrote.

The ERT Office will continue to monitor the situation after the measures are implemented, making further adjustments if there are persistent problems, Mr. Panko wrote in his email.

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