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Lerner All-Nighters Were Uncomfortable Already

In the most noticeable cost-cutting measure so far, Lerner Hall Operations Executive Director Honey Sue Fishman announced in an email to the student council presidents that, “given these extraordinary economic circumstances,” Lerner Hall hours will be reduced, and the computer lab and Cafe 212 seating will no longer be open all night.

“All departments and schools,” Fishman wrote, “have been asked to identify opportunities to reduce expenses and lower the overall budget. Our goal is to make reductions with the least impact to academic business, student life and the broader campus community. After careful review and consultation with elected student representatives, it has been determined that changing the operating hours and services of certain buildings will have a significant impact on efforts to contain costs across campus.” The changes:

  • The Cafe 212 seating area, the Citibank ATM, and the Lerner Computer Lab, once open 24 hours a day, will now close overnight. Closing time will be at 1:00 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday, and 3:00 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, so most of your drunken late-night ATM visits will still be possible.
  • The building will open one hour later in the morning (8:00 a.m.)
  • The package center will open at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and will be closed on Saturdays.
  • Lerner will only remain open 24-hours-a-day during reading week and final exam periods.

No other buildings were mentioned as being considered for reduced hours, but perhaps closing 403 for 6-12 months will finally get rid of that stench. Fishman’s email after the jump.

– JCD (photo: Samat Jain/Flickr)

Dear Student Leaders:

The University continues to look for new ways to operate more efficiently. All departments and schools have been asked to identify opportunities to reduce expenses and lower the overall budget. Our goal is to make reductions with the least impact to academic business, student life and the broader campus community.

After careful review and consultation with elected student representatives, it has been determined that changing the operating hours and services of certain buildings will have a significant impact on efforts to contain costs across campus. Accordingly, effective July 1, 2009, the following changes will be made to Lerner Hall operations:

Hours of Operation

During the academic year, Lerner Hall will open one hour later. Academic year hours will be as follows:

Sunday – Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.

Thursday – Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.

Currently, the building is operating on a summer schedule through September 8, 2009:

Sunday – Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 8: 00 p.m.

Off-Hours Building Access

Effective June 30 at 11:59 p.m., when the building closes at the end of each day, the entire building will officially be closed. There will no longer be access to the lobby from the campus entrance. As a result, the seating area in Café 212, the Citibank ATM and the 2nd floor computer lab will also be closed. This change will be in effect year-round.

Reading Week and Final Exams

Lerner Hall, including the computer lab, will be open 24/7 during the reading week and final exam period.

For up-to-date information about services in Lerner Hall and hours of operation, consult the website at


Hours of operation for computer labs in undergraduate residence halls and Butler Library 24-hour labs are unchanged. However, the Butler lab is currently operating on a summer schedule. To accommodate students seeking 24-hour computer use during the summer, the Carman Hall cluster will be open to Columbia University students from 8:00 p.m. – 8:00 a.m. Students will be required to check their University ID card with Public Safety at the entrance for computer use.

Visit for more information about computer lab locations and for schedules.


As another cost savings measure, the Package Center and Student Mail Services will now open at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Additionally, these businesses will no longer be open on Saturdays. For more information about the Package Center and Mail Services, visit

We appreciate your understanding given these extraordinary economic circumstances. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

Thank you.


Honey Sue Fishman

Executive Director

Lerner Hall Operations

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  • There goes my GPA says:

    @There goes my GPA Noooooooo. The one quiet place left to studyyy

  • HAHA says:

    @HAHA Left unsaid, That means even *more* outside groups reserving the auditorium, 555, and other “student” spaces for their conferences, conventions, recruitment meetings, etc.
    Because a slice of the hotel-conference-services pie is better and more financially rewarding than meeting student needs.

  • that's jacked up says:

    @that's jacked up for students who need the labs b/c they don’t have their own computers. harder hitting the hardest hit already.

    1. true says:

      @true there is no hell worse than not having your on computer at columbia!

      i went my freshman year without one and it was just awful. There is a serious computer shortage here.

  • wait... says:

    @wait... how much will they save? Are they really trying that hard to think of good ways to reduce costs?

  • wow says:

    @wow numbers two and three are absolutely right. the lerner computer lab was where I did almost all of my work for four years. living off campus + no computer = effectively living in Lerner.

    Thanks Columbia. way to cut one of the few corners that really means a lot to students.

    also, not to sound like a dick, but those computers are pretty old. a lot of them have been around for at least five years, which in computer years – especially since they’re pretty much used 24 hours a day – is decrepit.

    1. ... says:

      @... huh? if anything, i’d argue that columbia’s public computer infrastructure is overbuilt. i mean, seriously, you don’t need brand new computers to run microsoft word and a web browser and i’ve never had any problems with their stuff. in fact, when people ask what columbia is like, i usually respond with “fancy buildings and lots of fast and available computers” maybe they keyboards and mice are getting grody, but those could be replaced on the cheap.

      that said, considering that they’re increasing enrolment next year, it would be nice if they expanded available 24 hour study space. if they’re going to close lerner, perhaps making a few more rooms in butler 24 hours would be a nice compromise.

      1. What asshole... says:

        @What asshole... …honestly thinks there are too many computers for students at Columbia? Now there is only ONE 24/7 computer lab available to all students (as in, not in a residence hall), and I’ll guarantee that most nights- especially around midterms- that computer lab will be at full capacity until 12:30 or 1 AM. Many computers on campus are not equipped with Microsoft Word, either, and so you can basically only check your email on them. To say that Columbia’s computer infrastructure is overbuilt is ridiculous.

  • lazy much? says:

    @lazy much? if it matters that much to you, write to the administration instead of commenting on bwog.

  • what? says:

    @what? that be some bullshit.

  • wonderful says:

    @wonderful instead of firing the coagulation of incompetent bureaucrats sitting in Lerner 4 and 5, they close down the building to save the cost of 1 security guard. This is so typical – making decisions that save administrators a little time/money but cost students a lot of utility.

  • not well thought out says:

    @not well thought out How much could this really save? The overtime wage of the security guard that sits in front of Lerner, plus the electricity bill from the lights? If the cost of the guard really bothers them that much, couldn’t they keep the lobby/computer lab open without a guard? The computer lab needs swipe access, and there isn’t anything to steal of value from the lobby anyhow. And if they really needed a guard, the ones in Carman and Furnald are just a few steps away.

    1. problem says:

      @problem *Some* warm body needs to be at the lobby desk because there’s security camera monitors and a computer and paperwork things. And you’re not gonna get a know-nothing-about-security work study student to man the desk late at night.

      Maybe they can expand the computer lab in Butler? They’re already moving the vast majority of the collection to New Jersey.



  • HYPOTHESIS says:

    @HYPOTHESIS If you double the size of the mailboxes, then package center visits will decrease four fold.

  • Riven says:

    @Riven Package center closed on saturdays…. great. Good for those people who kinda have full schedules during the weekdays…

  • grad student says:

    @grad student quick question- why does Butler 4th floor smell so bad? it’s been a problem since at least 2007 (that’s when I got to CU)

  • priorities says:

    @priorities I blame this on the war on fun. Public safety’s duty to prevent liability is more important than any sort of useful security, and cuts have to be made…

  • Package Center says:

    @Package Center well my package center stays open all night long

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