An SU council meeting took place on the 27th February, in which a discussion was held on the new Parks College.
This was held before a survey which closes on Friday 28th, and is aimed at gathering the opinions of current students of the university on the new graduate college. According to Allison D’ambrosia, the VP for Graduates at the Oxford SU, the survey has had over 600 responses so far.
Concerns were raised over the accessibility of the library collections at the Radcliffe Science Library, the library which the college will be located, on a “flexible” arrangement of space sharing. One particular concern which was raised was the potential of the library collections becoming inaccessible, and whether this may cause a loss for colleges as they will have to compensate by expanding their collections as a result.
It was revealed that, whereas the post-graduate collection will remain at the site of the RSL, the undergraduate collection will be moved to other libraries, with individual departments in charge of deciding where their collections will go.
However, it was reported that there will be an interim period in which none off these collections will be accessible, although this will likely only last around a week.
Another concern which was raised was how the university will they assure the accessibility of the college for disabled students. It was reported that there hasn’t been a single mention of accessibility in all the information which Oxford SU has been supplied, although the VP for graduates said that she had requested such information. However, the RSL is currently a grade 2 listed building, which could make attempts to make the building accessible difficult.
As well as this, the council questioned the fact that students who start at Parks College will not have access to facilities such as a common room, a hall, or any kind of community. The VP for graduates claimed that almost nothing has been set up “except a weekly pizza night”.
There was a suggestion at the meeting that students should be transferred from other colleges to be able to set up a sense of college community, and that students at Park’s College should have a reduction in tuition fees due to the fact that they will not have the same resources as they might do in some other colleges.
A Q&A is due to be held on March 5th in which students will have the chance to question members of staff at the university about the new college. And a vote will be held on the college on March 11th which could have the potential to delay the process of setting up the new college, although the VP for graduates argued that this was unlikely to happen.
The college will be set up as a society rather than an independent college, and will be part of the university itself, set up almost like a department. This is the same system as Kellogg College, another post-graduate college.
The student council also discussed reports from SU campaigns and divisional reps.
Image credit: N. Chadwick.