UCLU a Cold House for Celts
UCLU has incurred the wrath of students over a refusal to accept Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes.
UCL styles itself as London’s global university, but in the Union shops and bars it doesn’t seem like it- not for international students but for those from other parts of the UK.
Notices stating that the Union “does not accept Scottish or Irish banknotes” are prominent around the main Union building and the Bloomsbury and have provoked the annoyance of a number of students.
Second year Politics undergraduate Ben McCabe, who comes from Northern Ireland said that the policy was “ridiculous”
“UCL prides itself on twinning with universities all around the world,” he told The Buzz, “yet as a British citizen I can’t even spend pounds sterling in my own university. I would call it banknote apartheid”.
When contacted by The Buzz UCLU failed to reply but emails from another student to the Commercial Services Manager, Tim Carey, last year, produced a response that staff were “confused” by the banknotes. In addition Mr Carey stated that a rise in fraudulent notes from Northern Ireland and Scotland led to them being banned outright.
Second year Greg Monk lambasted Mr Carey’s response and said, “we’re meant to be one of the best universities in the world and our staff- many of whom are students – aren’t able to recognise pounds sterling when they see them? I don’t buy it”.
Belfast-born Kate Hoey, Member of Parliament for Vauxhall, has issued her support for the disgruntled students stating: "This pathetic policy leaves UCL at risk of becoming a laughing stock. I urge the Union to recognise that we are all proud parts of the United Kingdom and overturn this insulting ban."
However whether or not the policy will change in the light of growing opposition remains to be seen.