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Columbia Spectator Staff

For the first time, only Columbia Business School students and undergraduate economics majors will be allowed in Uris Hall's Watson Library during Business School finals, between May 5 and May 17. The B-school has already restricted access to the second floor of the library in response to frustration and anger among Business School students over what they deem the inappropriate space usage, horrendous study habits, and terrible fashion of other Columbia students, specifically undergraduates. In response to this recent development, we would like to ask the Business School community a few basic questions.

End of semester problem set

1) Short Answer

a) Analyze the basic market structure of the competition over the library's seats.
                  i) Is it (A) a free market or (B) a command economy? 
                  ii) Conduct a cost/benefit analysis of a third party entering into this market.

b) Explain the ideal strategy to pursue when entering into negotiations for space with the student sitting across from you whose notebook lies within your bubble.

c) Construct an indifference curve demonstrating the utility of creating a Tumblr mocking undergraduates rather than studying. 
                  i) Plot how that indifference curve shifts as the subjects are identified as graduate business students.

2) Essay

a) Make a compelling argument for either embracing the capitalist ethos of the free market or allowing the regulation of seats and space. Keep in mind that one of former President George W. Bush's former chief economic advisers, current Business School dean Glenn Hubbard, will be reading these essays.

b) Give a counter-argument to the position that closing a library off to some students, but not others, fractures the academic community of our University by limiting the universal access to knowledge and encouraging an us-versus-them attitude. 
A good essay should answer the following questions: 
                  i) How will this policy benefit non-Business School students for whom the materials in Watson Library would be important resources, especially non-economics majors taking economics classes? 
                  ii) How will other Columbia students who are not members of the business school—but who require the unique aspects of Watson, such as adequate group study and food-friendly space—be able to compensate for the loss of such space during finals week?

To respond to this staff editorial, or to submit an op-ed, contact

An earlier version of this article stated that Watson Library will be closed to non-economic major undergraduates May 3 through 17, however the policy is in effect May 5 through 17. Spectator regrets the error.

B-School Watson Library Finals undergraduate students Economics