‘Angry and disheartened’: students on Warwick’s closed campus facilities

‘I want my money back’

Just two weeks ago, students were informed that their access to many campus facilities had been revoked. The library closed on Wednesday 13th January, two days after term had started, and many buildings across the university are now card access only “for those who are permitted to return to face to face teaching”.

The Tab Warwick asked students how they felt about the new campus restrictions, which came into place midway through the first week of term.

“I came to uni expecting to use the library”

A number of students said that they had moved back to their term time accommodation to use the facilities.

“It disregards all other students in and around campus who returned legally with reasonable excuse,” one student told The Tab Warwick.

Another said they had returned to Warwick before the lockdown was announced, and now couldn’t access the printers.

Kate, a second year studying Hispanics Studies with Film, explained why she felt let down by the university.

“I feel as if the the university does not care for our studies as we have been restricted from accessing helpful resources that we were promised. As well as the lack of no detriment policy, it feels virtually worthless to produce work to the highest standards possible as there is so much uncertainty and no clear future.

“There is so much uncertainty and no clear future” – Kate, second year, Hispanic Studies with Film

“It is impossible to be able to write clear essays with the amount of secondary resources needed especially for humanities students because we have virtually no access to the library which is a lifeline to so many when their assignments are due. I think my main point is that it is clear that the university does not care at all about our progress in our studies and our mental health whatsoever.

“They have essentially left this year in our own hands and made us get on with it despite the terrible conditions that one could say are so much worse than March last year.”

“I cannot imagine how people with abusive families cope”

“If one of the valid reasons for return to campus was for access to online learning not possible at home, restrictions to accessing technology that enhances this seems very hypocritical from the university,” said Archie, a first year History and Politics student.

“In my opinion, the restriction of campus facilities not only limits where people can work, but also limits access to technology, such as printers, that not many on campus have access to otherwise,” he said.

Sara, a second year International Management student, felt the revoked access to many of the study spaces on campus made studying more isolating and damaging to students’ mental health.

“Working from home near the uni is really awful. I had to come back to my term accommodation because I simply cannot function and work properly around my family. I don’t even have issues with them – so I cannot imagine how people with abusive families cope.

“It’s psychologically exhausting” – Sara, second year, International Management

“I have to stay all day in my room and convince myself to concentrate, with all so many small distractions surrounding me, knowing there are unused resources such as study spaces. I do understand that necessary precautions have been taken, yet I can’t help but feel angry and disheartened by the situation of isolation we are put in.

“I think part of the learning process is also social – studying with others, discussing, taking a healthy coffee break. At home, it’s easy to fall into excess: working to much or not enough. It’s psychologically exhausting.”

“The lack of support is shocking”

Experiencing their first year at university, many students have expressed disappointment at the way both Warwick and the government have handled the situation.

A History and Politics fresher said, “The lack of support is shocking. We are expected to do everything on our own with no help and work to high academic standards.

“I worked so hard to get into Warwick in my A Levels only for them to get cancelled. Then I got in, and then there was no one to help or care. I felt so lonely at uni too because of the pandemic.”

“The government has handled this pandemic awfully, but universities across the nation encouraged freshers to sign rent contracts under the pretence of face to face teaching, which they knew was a lie,” Joshua, a first year Law student, told The Tab.

“Furthermore, they’ve scaled back mental health services and closed libraries which has effectively left many students alone. I’m really ashamed at how many universities have handled this- it’s awful.”

The University has offered a rent waiver for students in on-campus accommodation, but has not met the other demands of the Warwick Rent Strike movement, such as rent refunds for those in Warwick-managed off-campus accommodations.

“Why are we paying full fees when we don’t even have access to basic facilities?” – Ameerah, fourth year, Modern Languages

Ameerah, a fourth year studying Modern Languages, told The Warwick Tab, “I would say that it’s absolutely ridiculous, most students rely on campus facilities and left home to be able to use them. Why are we paying full fees when we don’t even have access to basic facilities?

“You would think that Warwick would significantly reduce tuition fees”

Some students agreed with the university’s approach. “No one wanted it but I think it’s completely necessary,” said Laura, studying for a masters in Literary Translation.

But many said though they agreed with the measures, they didn’t think the university was doing enough for students.

Brendan, a first year Computer Science student, said, “Closing down campus facilities obviously makes a lot of sense given the current situation, and it’s definitely for the best. That being said, the decision has had an impact on student learning, and we should receive some sort of reimbursement from the uni to make up for the numerous facilities we do not have access to.”

“The university continues to profit off of the situation” – Dan, second year, History

“It feels like I have been locked out of a proper uni experience,” second year History student, Dan, tells us.

“Whilst I do agree with the decision for university students to stay at home until the review in mid-February, I think restricting access to campus facilities for most students is an extreme response on the university’s part.

“You would also think that by pursuing such a path, which effectively locks us out of university, Warwick would significantly reduce or wave tuition fees. Yet this has not happened and the university continues to profit off of the situation.”

Politics and Sociology first year student, Melissa, said “It again makes me wonder what we’re paying for- I absolutely understand tuition is used for staff and professors wages- but fees tend to include university facilities too.”

“I’m getting f***ing ripped off,” Harry, a History and Politics second year summarised.

The University gave the following statement:

“We are continually assessing building opening and service provision on campus during the current lockdown in England, to meet our ongoing commitment to maintaining the safety and wellbeing of staff and students, including providing study spaces where it most safe to do so, whilst also ensuring that we can continue to provide as full a service as possible in these challenging times.

“Our main library building has therefore now moved to a mediated service. The Library has re-introduced a Click and Collect service. This sits alongside the current Scan and Deliver and Postal Loans/Returns functions to provide for those where resources are not available online. The free Postal Loans service has been extended temporarily to all our UK-based students and staff. Online access to resources and services, including enquiries and support, continue unchanged.

“We are providing study spaces for the significantly reduced number of students on campus, or living nearby, in Rootes Grid, the BioMed Grid and our PG Hub. This is being monitored daily, with more spaces opening up as required across campus as required.

“Tuition continues for all courses, moving online were the government has required us to do so.”

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