Rutgers Libraries have instituted a new policy change that requires all library patrons to show a valid Rutgers ID after 10 p.m. – a decision that has now sparked protest from some students and community members.
Rutgers began enforcing the new rule on November 16, which according to Rutgers student newspaper The Daily Targum, was done in the hopes of reducing crowding at certain libraries. The university also provides access to members of the local community, which has only fueled demand for the ID policy.
Now, The Daily Targum is reporting that the mix of university students and local community members has come to a head in the university’s libraries. Requiring patrons to produce a Rutgers University ID aligns with demands from some of the students themselves, as a petition started in in March of this year cited negative experiences with New Brunswick, New Jersey community members in Rutgers University libraries.
While the university officials have stressed that members of the community are no more likely to be cited in incident reports than students are, the tension has nonetheless inspired to the new ID policy.
It’s no secret that college students are nocturnal creatures, getting much of their required work done late in the evening. The same holds true at Rutgers where the university’s libraries routinely fill up as it gets later.
Rutgers’ libraries are open to the public community members beginning at 7 a.m., but the consensus amongst some students is that university libraries are intended to serve, first and foremost, tuition-paying students, faculty and staff.
On the first day of the new ID policy Rutgers libraries reported some 15 people who refused to show a university ID, with six of those individuals having to be escorted off the premises by Rutgers University Police.
There are two sides to every coin. Despite the benefit of a university assimilating with its surrounding community, there are very real concerns with providing an open, public building without verifying proper identification.
Students and university staff should expect a level of security while on university premises, and checking for valid IDs certainly helps to ensure that the library serves those who truly need to be there.