An interview with ‘Keep Our Communities’ ahead of today’s pastoral care march

Set to take place at the Vic Rooms at 2:30

| UPDATED Hide Images

Proposed changes to the provision of pastoral care at Bristol University have provoked a passionate response on both sides.

Proponents of the new model have argued it will lead to more consistent standards and professional staff, better equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century. Opponents contend it is a cost-cutting measure that will reduce standards and erode the community spirit in halls.

A student led campaign group 'Keep Our Communities' is set to hold a demonstration this afternoon. Beginning at Stoke Bishop at 2:00pm, KOC are set to lead a march down to the Vic Rooms to highlight student dissatisfaction with the proposed changes.

Images produced by the Keep Our Communities campaign

Ahead of the demonstration, The Tab spoke to KOC co-founder Cris Oehling Pascual about what she hopes today's march will achieve.

What do you hope to achieve by this protest here today?

"We want to show the university that students will not stand aside and allow their pastoral system to be destroyed".

What are the main reasons for marching on the Vic Rooms?

"It's an iconic building, it gives us great visibility not only amongst students but also the wider Bristol community. We're marching because we feel student care will be undermined by these changes and we want to show the university just how seriously we take these issues".

Do you expect the march to have any effect on the university?

"Hopefully it will continue to show the university that students are unhappy with what they have proposed, and will pressure them to reconsider".

KOC co-founder Cris Oehling Pascual, centre

What do you say to those who allege that this protest has been manufactured by halls staff to save their own jobs?

"That's a complete lie. Keep Our Communities is an entirely student led movement, and in fact staff have been extremely reluctant to take part in any activities for fear of repercussions on their jobs."

What other events does Keep Our Communities have lined up in the forthcoming weeks?

"A referendum is set to be held in the coming weeks to consult students on this issue. We'd encourage all students to email the university and make clear their views on the consultation prior to the closing date next Friday."

The referendum is set to be held on the Student Union's stance on the proposed changes. This document outlines their collective stance in full.