In an alleged attempt by University management to prevent ‘Stop the Cuts’ campaign meetings, all large lecture theatres and seminar rooms were booked up last week by the University at every available slot until Christmas.
On the morning of the 27th November, a Stop the Cuts representative was telephoned by University administration staff and informed that their forthcoming meeting had been moved to the Russell Building. The reason given at the time was that all other large rooms on campus had been scheduled for ‘equipment checks’.
In the week commencing 29th November, the University’s 15 largest meeting rooms were booked for a total of 200 hours, all due to ‘equipment checks’. Stop the Cuts responded with incredulity at the assertion that all larger rooms had to be booked at all times for the remaining period of term.
Initial enquiries made to the Room Bookings Office about the nature of the equipment checks were met with the response that there were to be electrical checks by the Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) team, in line with legal requirements for employers to ensure the safety of electrical goods. One student contacted the PAT team, only to find that they had no knowledge of any electrical checks of such a nature.
When questioned on this, Academic Registrar, Owen Richards, the man responsible for booking the rooms in question, stated that the rooms were, in fact, booked for security reasons. Booked rooms were to be released as soon as security checks had been completed.
Head of Security, Roger Morgan, when asked to confirm the information provided by Richards, insisted that he had not requested any room bookings and as such would not be releasing any rooms as security checks were completed.
Owen Richards has since told The Badger that this situation was the result of an over-zealous interpretation of his requests to make the rooms available for the Security team.