University of London to close UOL clubs and societies
UOL announced it is likely its clubs and societies are to close with little warning and no student representation
University of London announced on Monday 29th June that at the July meeting of The UoL Collegiate Council, scheduled for only 5 days after the announcement, a proposal would be considered “to cease the operations of clubs and societies through Student Central.” Under this proposal, “clubs and societies” would be transferred to a member institution (a specific UoL University). In cases where this transfer would not be possible, they would be “dissolved.”
Despite this discussion supposedly having taken place “in recent months” there had been no prior suggestion for students that their clubs and societies were under threat. For many of these societies, being transferred to a member institution is not a viable option, and despite being an integral part of student life for decades, are currently under threat of dissolvement. Over 1200 students currently make use of them but there has been no opportunity for these students to have an input, even though the decision made on Friday will ultimately affect them.
UoL societies were made so that students could have access to sports and societies regardless of the size of their member institution, particularly important for those attending smaller, specialised universities. These societies also allow students to have access to smaller or nicher sports only possible through a partnership of institutions like archery, fencing, sailing and ice hockey.
In reaction to this, University of London Clubs and societies have started a petition to the UoL Collegiate Council, stating that “for many current and former students, being part of a UoL club or society will have been a definition and crucial part of their university experience.” Whilst it has gathered an impressive 2,900 in only 36 hours, UoL has “unfairly given the societies an incredibly tight timeframe” to work in.
In an open letter to The Collegiate Council, signed by 26 societies, they went on to say that “The Student Clubs and Societies provide over 1200 federal university students with a range of sports and social facilities that are, in the main, not accessible and affordable through other means.” They go on to say that ‘as a group we are extremely disappointed with how this information has reached the student body.”
They petitioning students have now also made the formal request that a Student Representative should be allowed to attend the meeting, “in an act of good faith by the university given the lack of student representation thus far”, and are asking students to directly reach out to the UoL Board to further help the situation.