Bristol SU calls on the University to immediately review elements of halls review

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Bristol SU has today released a new response to the proposed Residential Life Service Model after an initial statement in December which endorsed the review.

After speaking to 'hundreds of students', the SU have compiled and released a summary of their response to the proposed model including a list of concerns and recommendations along the themes of:
 

  • Overall level of resource/support
  • Visibility and accessibility of pastoral support staff
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Community building and events
  • Support for student representatives in residences
  • The Residential Life Mentor role
They add that 'we expect to play an active role in the further development of this model, ensuring that students' views are taken into account.'

Although identifying 'issues that will need to be resolved for the model to be successful', the response says the SU endorses the review's 'basic framework' due to the '24-hour professional cover', the 'separation of pastoral and disciplinary roles' and the chance to develop support in City Centre residences it provides.

The University proposed the new model in December. Key changes include the removal of Wardens and Deputy Wardens and reducing the number of Senior Residents by 2/3.

Three new hubs are proposed which will each have a 'Residential Life Manager', five ‘Residential Life Advisers’ and a team of approximately 54 ‘Residential Life Mentors’, replacing the Senior Resident role.

There has been considerable opposition to the plans from both past and present students and halls staff. They argue that these changes will threaten student wellbeing and will destroy hall communities.

Students and staff have set up 'Keep Our Communities' to oppose the changes and a petition against the abolition of Wardens and SRs has had more than 3300 signatures since it was launched in December.

Lucky Dube, Student Living Officer at Bristol SU, said today that the SU are 'supporting the fundamentals of the proposal' but agree with students that 'there are reasons to be concerned'.

The statement recognises the fact 'students are particularly concerned about proposed changes to the Senior Resident role' and urges the University 'to immediately review the number of Residential Life Mentors in their proposal to make sure the resource at this level of the model is sufficient to meet student need.' Read the full statement from Dube below.

On Monday, Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady emailed all students about the proposed changes and announced that the University has extended the consultation period from the 1st of February to the 9th of February. A firmer proposal will be announced by Friday 16th February.

Brady added: 'I can guarantee that any savings will be entirely reinvested into rent reductions or accommodation bursaries for students, and peer mentors.'

You can provide your feedback by emailing studentsupportreview-residences@bristol.ac.uk or anonymously via online feedback form. Feedback will be open until 9 February 2018.

The University will also be hosting two open meetings to allow all staff and students to hear more about the proposal, ask further questions and make further comments. Book to attend on one of the following dates:

  • Tuesday 23 January 5-6pm in the Reception Room, Wills Memorial Building (register here)
  • Thursday 25 January 1-2pm in the Reception Room, Wills Memorial Building (register here)

The full statement from Lucky Dube, Student Living Officer, on the Residential Life model proposal-

'The Residential Life model which has been proposed is a step change for the university towards a 24-hour support system that can meet students' wellbeing needs, which is why we are supporting the fundamentals of the proposal.

'We know that there are a number of issues which need to be addressed in order for the model to be successful. Students are concerned that resource levels could be reduced, or that the proposal would not replicate the personal, individualised support in residences that many students currently benefit from. Our response lays out the ways that we feel that these concerns can be addressed and we expect to play an active role in the further development of the model to ensure the proposals take into account every facet of the student experience and that current good aspects of the system are not lost.

'It is clear that students are particularly concerned about proposed changes to the Senior Resident role. While we believe that some of these changes could address genuine issues with the Senior Resident system, we agree there are also reasons to be concerned. This why we have urged the University to immediately review the number of Residential Life Mentors in their proposal, to make sure the resource at this level of the model is sufficient to meet student need.

'Our full response to the proposed changes, including this and other recommendations for how it can be improved, can be found online.'

Featured Image: Bristol Accomodation Office


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AUTHOR

Alex Boulton

Editor in Chief 2017-18, Online Style Editor 2016-17. History student.

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