Letter to Senior Management Group from GUSRC Executive 2013/14

Reflecting on their year in office and the challenges that lay ahead for the University, the GUSRC Executive call on the Senior Management Group for action to find effective and inclusive solutions to the issues facing students at Glasgow moving forward.

The GUSRC Executive 2014/15 have released a letter sent to the University of Glasgow Senior Management Group to convey some of their worries for students at Glasgow moving forward. They highlight the need for solutions to the effects of over-recruitment such as the capacity of student services, accommodation & teaching facilities as well as the further delay to the GUU/Stevenson extension.

Dear University of Glasgow Senior Management Group,

We’d like to begin this letter by stating how much we’ve enjoyed and benefitted from having a productive working relationship with SMG over the last year. Being in office for just a year means it can be sometimes difficult to see real gains, but there have been many over the past twelve months. We’ve learnt an awful lot over this past year, and feel the need to write this letter to convey some of our worries for students at Glasgow moving forward.

At the beginning of this academic year we witnessed the seriously negative impact of over recruitment. Examples included students being jammed into classrooms that clearly weren’t large enough, classrooms being provided which weren’t fit for purpose and some students had to spend their first weeks at University staying in a hotel because all the student accommodation, which they had been promised, was full.

As far back as December, the SRC sent a clear message to Court that capacity within student services had become a critical issue, and a quick solution needed to be found in order to maintain the quality of student experience at the University. The response to this has been, essentially, ‘wait until we develop the Western Site’. Since this meeting, the predicted has happened, the quality of the student experience has plummeted and our student services are desperately struggling to meet demand. Unless remedial action is taken, and additional resources are provided, it is likely that student satisfaction will continue to drop.

We do not dispute that the Western Site is going to be an incredible development and once we have that space available the possibilities are endless. However, building and development won’t begin on the Western Site for a number of years and all of our current students have needs right now. It is time for the University to recognise its responsibility to existing students, and develop and implement adjustments around the existing site. While the SRC agrees it is crucial that the Western development is planned wisely and carefully, there needs to be recognition of the need for action now.

Short term initiatives, such as the Bute Hall and the GUU Dining Room being adapted for teaching, indicate that the University is at least looking for solutions that don’t involve commitment to substantial development. This may help free up teaching space, (albeit at the cost of limiting amenity for other elements of the student experience) but it is not going to help relieve the pressure on student services which are now at crisis point. We are lucky at this University to have many hardworking and creative service staff, but no amount of creativity can alleviate the massive student demand facing the services.

The Stevenson/GUU extension has been delayed for a year, another year of endless queuing for engaged, active students who are up for getting involved in sport and fitness. It’s a sad day when students are penalised for wanting to get involved, or when membership prices are being increased to deter usage, limiting students’ ability to participate. We need the University to find an effective and inclusive solution before then. We need a solution now.

Yours Truly,
Jess McGrellis
On Behalf of GUSRC Executive 13/14

The original letter can be downloaded here: GUSRC Executive 2014/15 Letter to SMG, June 26th 2014