Worryingly, bathimpact finds that the University is becoming more out of touch with its students. The recurring theme, found throughout this edition of bathimpact, is that the University is not listening to what students want and seeing them more as numbers than recipients and partners in learning.
It is clear that higher education funding is rapidly becoming a mess, resulting in student numbers being increased at an unsustainable rate. Now the University sees students as a pot of funding, a way to keep the University’s finances ticking over. Because of this, we are seeing strains across the board, from learning and teaching to accommodation.
This year’s intake of mathematics students, for example, have a higher cohort number than any lecture theatre can provide. Because of this the lecture is having to be taught in 2 blocks, effectively separating the cohort of students away from each other even though they will be receiving the same lecture. Recruiting beyond the learning and teaching capacity is something that should have been investigated before the new students arrived.
There are also strains being found in accommodation, with many students being forced to share rooms. The University proudly states that all first year students who apply for accommodation before the deadline will get University managed halls, but that is incredibly misleading. It does not guarantee any student that has Bath down as their insurance choice a room, or take into account the other factors that result in students not meeting this deadline. The University cannot provide accommodation for all its intake, and this masquerade that it “guarantees” students accommodation needs to stop.
The University shouted from the roof tops about the new arts building, called the Edge, and how it would help support the arts agenda here. It then followed that students found booking rooms difficult with so many spaces being let out to private theatre companies and performances, limiting the students’ ability to access these spaces. Once again proving financial interests trump students interests.
There is also a silence over whether the University will provide scholarships to refugees, something which 18 other universities have done so far, regardless of pressure from students. Being a University so high in the league tables, this is something the University can and should do. So far the University has given no response over whether they will support these people in crisis.
We at bathimpact have previously run articles relating to the pressures on campus facilities. The gym is getting busier and busier, overcrowding on an already stretched bus service, and finding space in the library being neigh on impossible at peak times.
Students are paying more to attend university than ever before and are getting a worse deal than the students before them with each years’ rise. At bathimpact it appears that the University is not considering these crucial implications that affect students and are more concerned with their bank balance.