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Naive College Students Petition to KEEP Homeless in School Library Late at Night

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They say that when you’re young, if you’re not liberal you have no heart, if you’re old and not conservative, you have no brain. Some Rutgers University students definitely fit in the latter category.

The area around Rutgers University has experienced a surge in crime recently. The surrounding area, New Brunswick, is not known for a low crime rate, which unfortunately has a tendency to affect students on campus, which is accessible by the public. In three consecutive weeks on the campus this semester there have been three incidents of crime, the latest of which was a violent assault. myCentralJersey reports,

The assault marks the third time since Oct. 19 that a person has been either robbed or the victim of an attempted robbery near the New Brunswick campus.

With this increase in crime, and already strained University resources dealing with them, the school’s library system has taken the logical step of limiting visitors to its libraries during the overnight hours, when less security is present and where overcrowding has apparently been a problem. This would, according to some student protesters, limit access to the library as an overnight shelter for the city’s surrounding homeless population. While sheltering the homeless is an admirable goal, it’s not the job of a public university’s school library, which is funded by tuition and tax dollars to be a place of learning and research, not a warm building with some couches. Some idealistic Rutgers students are outraged that this policy, intentionally or unintentionally, targets homeless individuals,

“Revolving Church Shelters don’t commence until a while after Thanksgiving—-they used to start earlier,” said one opponent of the new policy, who added that it “targets the homeless.”

A different student-organized online petition launched by Nick Cruz this week seeks to “cancel” the policy.

The petition in favor of a requiring ID cards for entering, which differs from the forced removal policy Rutgers has proposed, garnered 412 signatures in six months.  Meanwhile, the petition opposing the Rutgers policy garnered 225 signatures in three days.

The petition in favor of limiting the patrons to just Rutgers students, circulated last year, helped prompt the change in policy. Several students explained why they were affixing their signatures,

I’m signing because I pay far too much in tuition to be scared of being in the library by myself

The library is there for people to use books and study, not for homeless people to sleep and wander around, especially due to all of the recent crime alerts in New Brunswick.

I don’t mind the homeless patrons otherwise, but when they take up study spaces and become loud or distracting in the library as well as student center, then I think it is a problem. Unfortunately they are there at seemingly all times of the day but establishing this swipe system is heading in the right direction.

Too many drug addicts sleeping in seats that could be utilized by students trying to finish their work.

It’s dangerous to have them sleeping there. I feel extremely unsafe. Rutgers is creating environments where their students feel the need to carry pepper spray in the library.

What do you think? Should a public university’s library double as an overnight homeless shelter?

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