Extravagant plans show university management out of touch

10th Jan 2011 - Andrew Howe

Some of the expensive library gear planned for installationNewly released proposals for refurbishing a room at Hartley Library show how out of touch the university management is. At a time when education budgets are likely to be slashed, people are being sacked, and departments and institutions are facing closure, £100,000 will be spent on, amongst other things, touch-screen walls, glass architecture, and extravagant bespoke-made furniture.

These things will not improve conditions for students. As anyone who has tried to do printing at Hartley Library during a peak time will know, students are currently in desperate need of more computer terminals. Why not reopen the room with 40 new computers? This would cost less than £15,000, only 15% of the current planned budget, and the room would be much more useful.

It is clear that the university management is more interested in having a room filled with fancy new tech toys that will look good in next year's prospectus, than in giving students the resources they need. Students have been given the 'democratic choice' between six equally expensive and unnecessary designs. There is no option to vote to reopen nominations, or to keep the room as it is.

The Create Your Campus scheme was run last academic year as well, with another room refurbished. Can anyone say it made a big difference to their university life? Better yet, does anyone even know where it is?

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