Should we have a 24 hour library? (1516P4)

Status: Lapsed | Zone: Decision Making

Passed: 21/01/2016 | Lapsed: 19/10/2015

This policy was discussed at the following meetings:

  • The University has recruited a larger number of students this year due to the removal of the government cap on student numbers
  • This has created a significant strain on the University’s resources and facilities: library space, overcrowding in lecture theatres, overcrowded buses
  • In response to the increased student intake in order to ‘reduce library overcrowding’ the University has planned to begin 24hour opening of Hartley Library from 2nd November 2015 to 5th June 2016 (including holiday periods)
  • The University has acknowledged that this is a ‘quick fix’ to the overcrowding problems in Hartley Library due to the larger number of students recruited this year
  • There are two main areas of consideration on this issue: student consultation and welfare
  • Consultation
    There was no consultation with students about these plans to introduce the provision of a 24hour Hartley Library
  • The Union was informed of the policy 10 days after the policy was passed by the University
  • The University has included plans the Union to run a Safety Bus service without consultation, leading to a decision that the Union cannot deliver
  • The University’s projected spend on the 24 hour Hartley Library until 5th June 2016 is approximately £84,000
  • The Union is here to represent the views of the student membership, currently the Union does not know what the student view is
  • Welfare
    The decision to extend Hartley Library opening hours has been made with no evidence that student safety has been considered when they are travelling to/from Hartley Library or whilst they are in the Hartley Library
  • The University has approved this plan on the Union to run an extended Safety Bus service to cover the extended opening times
  • The University has offered the Union £10,375 to cover the costs of the extended Safety Bus service during this period
  • The money offered to the Union is not enough to cover the cost of running the extended Safety Bus for the proposed period of time due to logistical constraints
  • By means of comparison, the trial of the WSA Shuttle Bus will cost £64,000 but this only includes a MondayFriday daytime service during term time
  • There is no information on what the staffing capabilities in Hartley Library are including number, qualifications and the support they are able to provide
  • During the extended opening times of Hartley Library previously there has been insufficient cleaning of Hartley Library facilities leading to repeated complaints from students
  • Consultation
    The lack of consultation with students means the Union cannot support these plans at the current time
  • To justify spending approx. £84,000 spent on a project for students, meaningful consultation must occur to ensure this outcome will benefit the majority of students
  • Welfare
    The University’s primary consideration must be student welfare and safety 
  • The move to extended opening hours has not properly considered the need for a healthy working lifestyle
  • There is evidence that there are significant concerns that sufficient cleaning of Hartley Library facilities will not be possible
  • There is a lack of access to adequate food and drink facilities during the extended opening hours
  • The Safety Bus provides an important welfare service to our members (as recognised in Policy1415P27)
  • The University has not thought about alternatives to the Union Safety Bus to get students home safely
  • Referendum
    Referenda are the most effective forms of direct student involvement in decision-making that we have, as recognised by Policy 1415P22
  • The result of the referendum will give the Union a strong mandate and legitimacy to act on students’ views
  • The issue is relevant to all students: those who use Hartley Library and those who could benefit from £84,000 being spent on something else that students would prefer 
  • The results of the referendum would have a big impact on students’ university experience
  • To adequately fulfil the charitable objectives of the Students’ Union we must represent the student voice and hold the University to account where necessary
  • Not to take a position on the University’s decision to extend Hartley Library opening times until adequate student consultation has taken place about the extended opening times
  • To continue to work with the University to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students
  • To carry out student consultation in the form of a referendum
  • The Vice President Welfare and Vice President Education to work with the university to ensure the wellbeing of students and encourage a healthy working lifestyle during the extended opening times 
  • The Union to hold a referendum in the week commencing 26th October 2015 asking the question ‘Should Hartley Library be open 24 hours a day, year-round?’ 
  • Democracy Zone Committee to ensure all necessary facts, figures and information about the referendum and its implications are provided to students in an informative and impartial manner
  • In the event of a ‘yes’ vote, the Union will lobby for in all discussions with the University:
    a) The primary consideration must be students welfare and safety
    b) A safe, fully resourced and sustainable way for students to get home
    c) Sufficient cleaning and maintenance of library facilities
    d) Comprehensive advice to students enabling them to make informed decisions about when and where they choose to study
    e) Sufficient access to food and drink facilities
  • The Union to lobby the University to ensure that urgent action is taken, both in the short and long term, to solve the issues created by over-recruitment of students