Sunday 17-09-2017 - 21:12
Following Friday's announcement about student parking charges, Your Students' Union has sent the following letter to the Vice Chancellor:
FAO: Professor M. Hughes,
17th September 2017
RE: Changes to Student Parking
You may already be aware that the recently announced changes to student parking arrangements have provoked anger and confusion from our students over the course of the past weekend. We are writing formally to you to raise a number of issues and ask that these are publically addressed urgently.
All of the questions below have been posed by students over the course of the weekend. It should be noted that the majority of these have previously been posed by the Students’ Union during our contribution to University’s internal discussion on parking at the University. Many of these questions remain unanswered at this time.
- How has the University arrived on the price of the student permits?
- Why do residential students have to pay more? Will there be defined student or residential student parking areas?
- How can the University justify charging students for a permit that does not guarantee a parking space?
- Has the University considered the impact that an additional cost associated to study will have on many students? Has any impact assessment been made?
- Has the University considered the impact of this decision on student parents or those with caring responsibilities, or from a care background?
- Will the timetabling of academic sessions be planned around local transport schedules to enable students, particularly those from rural areas with limited transport options, to access and attend their course sessions?
- Why has this been announced so close to the start of term? This has not provided students with much time to make alternative arrangements.
- Will alternative arrangements be made for students with disabilities or access needs, or will those students be expected to pay as well?
- Is this change in policy necessary, practical or fair in Lampeter, given its relatively isolated location, poor transport links and the presence of adequate parking space on campus?
- Is this charge in policy worthwhile in Swansea given the move from Townhill and Mount Pleasant to SA1 in twelve months’ time?
- Will the park and ride remain free in Carmarthen, and will the P&R buses run more frequently to provide students with the flexibility they will require?
- Has the University given any consideration to sourcing any additional parking space near to the Carmarthen campus to increase capacity?
- Will additional bursaries or hardship funds be available to any students who cannot afford to pay for parking? If not, has the University considered the impact of this decision on student retention (or recruitment)?
- The e-mail to students mentioned the University’s commitment to sustainability, what has the University done to encourage reducing commuting by car over the past two years – and how successful have those efforts that been? Additionally, if everyone were to pay for a permit, how will this approach affect the University’s sustainability?
- What impact will this policy have on the University’s relations with the local community, and has the University considered whether there will be any ramifications towards students as a result?
- Why has the University engaged a third party to administer the new parking arrnagements and what affect has that had on the cost of the scheme, and on individual parking permits?
- The e-mail mentions that the scheme is ‘not for profit’, how will this work in practice and how does this square with the scheme being managed by a commercial operator?
- Students are asking whether this is a charge for staff as well, and how their permit price compares with staff prices, particularly senior managers. On that note, will any reserved spaces exist?
You may already be aware that students have started a petition on change.org aimed at reversing this decision which has already attracted in excess of 300 signatures in a day. Students have also contacted us to discuss and encourage other methods of protest and have also taken to every available social media to evaluate this decision and talk about its impact on their student experience. At present, the first impression of many new students due to arrive next weekend is being formed through online engagement on this issue.
We write today to ask you to reconsider the implementation of this new parking policy. At the very least we believe that it should be postponed until such a time that the questions we have detailed above have been carefully thought through and detailed planning made.
We would be happy to meet and discuss this issue with you but please note that we will want to ensure that students have the answers to the questions detailed above because these are issues that are causing anxiety and anger amongst our members at present.
Rob Simkins, on behalf of myself, Charlie Jones & Josh Whale,
Student Presidents, Trinity Saint David Students’ Union 17/18
Gwyndaf Tobias, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Planning & Resources)
Mirjam Plantinga, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor Student Experience