The 'sadistic disembowelment' of the ASSL shows that the University does not care

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By Sabrina Miller, First Year English

Students are being let down by the dramatic reduction of seats during exam season.

When I revise I find it exceedingly useful to escape from the claustrophobic confines of my, suffocating bedroom. I find a change of scene can really help re-calibrate my brain after hours of labouring the daily grind. With that in mind, why on Earth have the University decided to mercilessly gut the library during exam month?

Our precious ASS has had its chairs and tables ruthlessly discarded and its sofas rendered redundant. This ransacked and abandoned library would not be out of place in a zombie-apocalypse blockbuster and is, despairingly, a mere shadow of its once vibrant self.

The ASS stairways are hauntingly silent, the toilet queues unfamiliarly short and the source café sandwiches fully stocked well passed lunch time.

I am honestly flabbergasted. I do not know if I am being too demanding, but the least I expect from an academically acclaimed institution, is a working library during exam month.

Stop me if I am going too far, but the timing of this decision is absolutely farcical. How does the University expect students to effectively revise for their summer exams without sufficient access to revision space?

Prior to this sadistic disembowelment, Bristruths was already rife with confessions from frustrated students struggling to find seats in the library. I am not convinced that removing even more seats has helped improve the situation!

The least I expect from an academically acclaimed institution is a working library during exam time.

What is worse is, as far as I am aware the University have offered limited alternatives, and limited apologies to students for this spontaneous sacking of our beloved ASS.

I believe the University has a duty to ensure that there is an abundance of space for studious students to finish writing dissertations and cram their speedily scribbled notes. So far, they have failed. According to the SU, there are only 500 available seats in the ASS. To put this into context, there are around 23,000 students at the University of Bristol. Somehow I do not think the 500 seats is going to quite cut it!

I completely appreciate that the University has security concerns and I am obviously grateful that the University claims to place my safety at the forefront of its agenda, however the timing of this decision is still comically absurd.

This entire year the ASS has been bursting with life, swollen with seats and packed with tables. Why now has the University decided to draw a line in the sand? It is genuinely shocking that this supposedly serious fire safety hazard has only come to light now. This is either someone’s sick joke to inconvenience stress-ridden students, or there has been a huge safety over-sight! In my opinion, either way, the university has clearly failed the student body.    

I really hope that this does not have a devastating impact on results, and I am confident that the resilient student body will still excel in their exams and unearth new places to revise; however, I believe that the University needs to do more to accommodate students during these stressful times.

Exams are not easy, and I think the University needs to work harder to support students and make the exam experience less traumatising. With that all being said, I am sure I, alongside the rest of the student body eagerly anticipate the return of the ASS in all its glory this September.

A spokesperson for the University of Bristol told Epigram:

'We’re very sorry for the current disruption caused by the loss of study seats in the Arts and Social Sciences Library. This is due to a recent report from external consultants who have recommended urgent work to provide safe evacuation of the building in the unlikely event of a fire.
We appreciate that making these changes at short notice has caused temporary disruption to study spaces at a busy time in the academic year. Teaching spaces in Senate House and Ivy Gate (the temporary classrooms in Royal Fort Gardens) have been made available as additional study space, and noisy works are being timetabled to coincide with the lowest periods of occupancy. We have been providing regular updates on the impact this work is likely to have.
We must prioritise the safety of our students and staff and we would like to thank them for their patience and understanding throughout the works.
The risks of a fire are low but, because everyone’s safety is paramount, we began work as quickly as possible with the aim of having it completed during the summer break, in time for the autumn term.
Students are reminded they can check availability of study spaces across the University online: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/study-spaces/

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