Students at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) are protesting a decision by bookseller Blackwell’s to close down their on-campus branch.
A petition, intended to be presented to the company’s headquarters in Oxford, currently has 70 signatures from SHU students and staff.
The petition calls the bookshop “a lively part of the university community” and claims that the “reputation of the university […] is likely to be negatively affected” by the decision to close.
Professor Sara Mills, of the University’s Humanities Research Centre, said she was “very concerned” by the closure and believed it would have “a deleterious effect on the intellectual engagement of our students”.
Students have accused SHU, who own the premises, of causing the closure by charging excessively high rent for the site. A shop employee termed the costs “extortionate”.
Blackwell’s claims that the branch has been running at a loss for the six years of its existence and that the closure is part of a wider scheme intended to restore the company’s profitability.
A SHU spokesperson called the decision “regrettable” but notes that “students are able to access a high-quality range of books and other resources from the Adsetts and Collegiate Learning Centres”.