A decade ago, Loyola administrators permanently closed the west doors to the Cudahy Library, and ever since, the only entry point has been through the adjacent Loyola Information Commons (IC).
A graduate student at Loyola recently launched an effort to get the school to revisit the topic, circulating a petition to hopefully encourage school administrators to reopen Cudahy’s west doors.
The doors — located on the north side of campus near Dumbach Hall — were closed in 2009 in hopes of providing greater security, according to Noteworthy, the library’s news site.
June Coyne, a PhD candidate in the history department and president of the Loyola Graduate Student Advisory Council, hung up flyers and created an online petition last semester, which is still active.
Coyne said she started the petition mainly for purposes of convenience and accessibility.
“Even though the front entrance is an accessible entrance, it is so much further that it makes the campus less accessible,” she said.
Coyne said she received more than 200 responses in two weeks. In the petition, she provided a space where people could leave a comment.
“When I was doing the [petition], I had at least three or four people mention they were pregnant or they had spinal fusion surgery which made it really difficult to go all the way around.” Coyne said, “It is a common complaint among students and faculty in Crown Center.”
Geoff Swindells, the associate dean of Loyola’s libraries, said the decision isn’t up to the library administration.
“I was not here then, but there were incidents of theft in the libraries, but there’s always occasions of thefts in libraries; but I don’t know if that’s the reason the doors were closed,” Swindells said. “My understanding is there was a desire to move people through the IC because it was the new prized building on campus.”
In an email obtained by The Phoenix from the summer, Kana Henning, associate vice president for facilities — the arm of the school responsible for maintaining Loyola’s buildings and grounds — said the re-opening of the west doors of Cudahy isn’t up for discussion.
“It has long since been decided that having a single point of entry for the library complex is the best way to control both student and visitor traffic, and to reduce the problems that we had long ago with thefts that were incredibly common in the libraries,” Henning wrote in the email.
When asked about this by The Phoenix, Henning said she couldn’t provide the numbers to show the decrease in theft because it was so long ago.
When asked if there would be any consideration if the petition achieved a certain amount of signatures, Henning reiterated the re-opening of the doors was not up for discussion and it’s not strictly a decision of facilities, but one of “senior leadership.” It is unclear who senior leadership is.
Despite this, Coyne said she believes rallying student support could give her something to work with.
Emily Martino, 20, a junior studying psychology, said she isn’t too familiar with the petition, but she thinks it would make the library much more accessible if the doors were open, especially for those on the north side of campus so they don’t have to walk all the way around.
Similarly, Claudia Kern, 20, a sophomore biochemistry major, said she thinks it would be convenient to have another way to enter other than through the IC. She prefers Cudahy over the IC because she’s more productive there and not distracted by the constant traffic coming in and out of the building.
“The idea is that this semester we are going to try to get more student interest and put together some sort of plan to present to facilities to say we want to do this,” Coyne said.