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Info for prospective students: DU expansion and planned college relocations.

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    Hi all,

    I'm currently at Durham as a chemistry PhD student, and a member of Ustinov college.

    The situation

    Over the last month or so, the University has been conducting the closest thing to a consultation it intends to bother with regarding the movement of a number of colleges, principally Ustinov, Stephenson and John Snow.

    With the closure of the Stockton campus, the University decided to move the students from Stephenson and John Snow colleges to Durham. It neglected, however, to arrange any sort of accommodation or facilities for those colleges.

    The plan

    To that end, the university's planning group recently announced its intention to present a plan to the university council to remove Ustinov college from its current buildings at Howlands Farm, with an expansion of Josephine Butler alongside the Stephenson and John Snow colleges taking its place (temporarily, with further moves for at least one of those planned down the line once they actually build more facilities)

    What about Ustinov

    The plan would have Ustinov move to a privately owned development at the Sheraton park site (located in the centre of a housing estate near neville's cross). This move would see Ustinov lose numerous facilities, be significantly isolated from the rest of the uni and be put into a building around 20 feet away from private houses. Some post-hoc modification of the plans for the building is being suggested, but no planning permission has been secured for these, nor has a license for a bar.

    The move will also result in an approximate 30% reduction in the number of beds available at Ustinov.

    The 'consultation'
    The plans were made public in late summer (when all undergraduates are away, and most postgraduates have dissertations or other work to occupy them), with less than 2 months notice given before the 20th Sept vote.

    Two open meetings have been held, the first organized by Ustinov, the second by the university. During the first, the university attempted to misrepresent the position of local residents (foiled by the presence of a representative of a local resident's association) and was unable to provide satisfactory answers to many points (at one point choosing to flatly ignore a question from a student who was set to be priced out by the plans)

    The second meeting, organised by the University, consisted of a powerpoint lasting well over an hour on the overall university vision for the next decade, almost none of which was relevant to the topic, followed by a question session which ran out of time with most points unaddressed.

    A qualitative online survey has been posted by the university, but access to and presentation to the council of the results will be conducted by those arguing for the move.

    Why should I care?
    For postgrads, this is hopefully obvious.

    For undergrads, 2 points.

    1. I mark your work, teach your problem sessions and demonstrate in your labs. I, and others like me, have a frankly absurd degree of influence over the quality of your learning and the marks you get. Do you want me to be doing all that while I'm in a good or bad mood?

    2. This is not the end of the plan. As I learned over a painfully long powerpoint, the university intends to add some 6700 students to Durham university over the next decade. You are paying some pretty enormous fees, and some pretty obscene rents as it is. The rent's going to get higher, the classes are going to get bigger and the postgrads will have less time and less motivation. All in all, this is the beginning of a transition to a factory farmed education system.

    TLDR: Uni screwing over postgrads, long term plan for huge expansions in number of students.

    What can you do? We're fighting as best we can, but any expression of concern from prospective students helps. @durham_uni on twitter or this petition: https://www.change.org/p/durham-univ...ege-relocation would be great places to lend your support
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    Whilst I'm all for siding with Ustinov on this matter, you really do need to take care as to not rough up the vast numbers of 18 year old freshers on this site.

    (Original post by chrisawhitmore)
    I mark your work, teach your problem sessions and demonstrate in your labs. I, and others like me, have a frankly absurd degree of influence over the quality of your learning and the marks you get. Do you want me to be doing all that while I'm in a good or bad mood?
    Indeed, the above quote could very easily freak them out as the language is sharp and somewhat threatening in order for them to sign your petition.

    If you're going to protest about Ustinov (and by all means, you should), you shouldn't achieve this end with a scaremongering post such as this. Moreso when the majority of people on this board haven't even started their first year yet and can be extremely unaware and naive of what uni entails (sorry freshers, but it's true).


    TL;DR - right sentiment but wrong approach, and if I was a Fresher reading your post I'd probs crap myself for no reason.
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    (Original post by chrisawhitmore)
    rt

    Salty as ****.


    Complain to someone who can do something about it.

    If you're teaching undergrads things, I expect you to do a good job regardless of your mood. That's called being professional. Or at least practicing to be so.


    Probably best for you to stay at uni because this isn't how persuading people works in the real world.


    Best of luck with your endeavour,


    SS
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    (Original post by Supersaps)
    Salty as ****.


    Complain to someone who can do something about it.

    If you're teaching undergrads things, I expect you to do a good job regardless of your mood. That's called being professional. Or at least practicing to be so.


    Probably best for you to stay at uni because this isn't how persuading people works in the real world.


    Best of luck with your endeavour,


    SS
    I'm paid to mark reports for 9 hours for one of the modules I teach. I was given 90 reports, each 6 pages long.

    I can mark at a page per minute, but you'll get next to no feedback. Or I can take longer than the time I'm paid for, and you'll get useful feedback.

    I do the latter at the moment because I care about doing a good job. If I cease to care (after all, I am demonstrating because I am required to, not because I want to), I will do that which is required of me, which is to work the hours for which I'm paid. I believe the term used in the 'real world' is 'work to rule'
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    (Original post by liss_jackson)
    Whilst I'm all for siding with Ustinov on this matter, you really do need to take care as to not rough up the vast numbers of 18 year old freshers on this site.



    Indeed, the above quote could very easily freak them out as the language is sharp and somewhat threatening in order for them to sign your petition.

    If you're going to protest about Ustinov (and by all means, you should), you shouldn't achieve this end with a scaremongering post such as this. Moreso when the majority of people on this board haven't even started their first year yet and can be extremely unaware and naive of what uni entails (sorry freshers, but it's true).


    TL;DR - right sentiment but wrong approach, and if I was a Fresher reading your post I'd probs crap myself for no reason.
    I'm not trying to threaten people, just pointing out that PG morale affects UG teaching quality. If people are worried, I'd suggest they make the university aware of this, and if possible, choose a uni that doesn't screw over postgrads.

    I'm pissed off. We all are. The debate being had is the degree of militancy with which to pursue our protests. As the move is being presented as a business decision, we are simply aiming to make our counterarguments in kind, which means pointing out the business costs of disregarding the postgraduate community in order to pack in more undergrads.
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    (Original post by chrisawhitmore)
    I'm not trying to threaten people, just pointing out that PG morale affects UG teaching quality. If people are worried, I'd suggest they make the university aware of this, and if possible, choose a uni that doesn't screw over postgrads.

    I'm pissed off. We all are. The debate being had is the degree of militancy with which to pursue our protests. As the move is being presented as a business decision, we are simply aiming to make our counterarguments in kind, which means pointing out the business costs of disregarding the postgraduate community in order to pack in more undergrads.
    If your aim was to just point this out, you really didn't use much tact. And tbh, I don't care if the debate has a degree of militancy - you're on a forum for Freshers who have no idea what's going on. Stop trying to involve them in politics using this heavy handed manner, because you're likely to terrify them. If you do that, don't expect their support and sympathies in the coming weeks and months as DU enact the Sheraton move (which is likely inevitable.) You conjure support by being reasonable and calm, not by brash postings.
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