Warwick offers 1200-person conference spaces whilst capping lectures at 50

This means the majority of lectures for students will be held online


The University of Warwick has advertised conference spaces for up to 1200 delegates, despite keeping most lectures for students online.

The uni has set its maximum group size for in-person teaching to 50 students, with “appropriate social distancing”, meaning most lectures will be held online.

However, it advertises various spaces for corporate conferences, meetings and events on their conference website. One of these spaces includes the Conference Park, which boasts theatres, tiered lecture halls and meeting rooms, with a 1,200 person capacity.

Warwick’s conference spaces have capacities ranging from 130 to 1200 delegates

This issue was first noticed by the campaign group, Put Warwick Students First, who created a petition in protest. It calls for Warwick to prioritise a full return to in-person teaching over profit. With over 1,100 signatures, the petition claims that the uni’s actions “amount to the destruction of the degree and the undermining of the historic value of higher education, for the sake of wanting to rake in higher profits”.

The petition also alleges that the uni going against government guidance to return to in-person lectures “has a detrimental impact on the quality of teaching and student mental health”, calling it “deeply damaging”.

Sebastian Maxted and David Bush, the co-chairmen of Put Warwick Students First, commented: “It’s disgraceful that Warwick University continues to blatantly prioritise profit over the welfare of its students.

“The last academic year has been particularly tough on students, with many being unable to make and meet new and old friends, as well as not having access to the in-person high-quality education that they came to university for.

“For Warwick University to allow 1200 corporate delegates into our lecture halls but not 51 or more of their own students at once shows how little Warwick cares for their students beyond taking the money that they pay.”

A spokesperson for Warwick said: “We have developed comprehensive plans to welcome new and returning students into a campus-based, safe blended learning experience at Warwick in 2021/22. Developed with the input of both students and staff, we will deliver a mixture of in-person and online teaching in the autumn term with the majority of every student’s teaching being face to face, through tutorials and seminars.

“The University will remain cautious, adaptable and resilient – recognising that we must all stay vigilant to limit the spread of Covid-19. In doing so, Warwick Conferences are working to industry guidelines and have put in place a range of safety measures for those visiting the campus; including contact tracing, asking for masks to be worn in public spaces, and the regular sanitising and cleaning of surfaces.

“As part of the University, all surplus revenue generated by Warwick Conferences is reinvested back into teaching, learning and research – helping Warwick students get a better education and for lives to be improved by world-leading Warwick research.”