The university still look set to close campus bars next term, despite one of the biggest campaigns in the Students’ Union’s history.
During the past week, students have been urged to “use it, or lose it” and flood campus bars in reaction to the university’s plans to drastically reduce opening hours.
Over two thousand signatures has been collected and SU President, Micky Armstrong, has commented that all the bars have been “packed out” every night. However, the university have still not made any concessions.
Director of Bars and Licensing, Andy Summers, announced plans to close campus bars at the end of February. Although the decision has not been finalised, the university have said that opening times could be halved by next term.
David Garner, a spokesperson for the university, explained that the proposals were prompted by a decline in students using the bars: “The problem has become acute in the current year after several years of declining bar profits”.
However, the SU have argued that the bars should not just be run for profit. Armstrong said: “The bars are a commercial service so, yes, they have to be commercial but they’re also a service for students from the university; they should be able to go to their bar whenever they want.”
The bars currently make an overall profit of £100, 000 each year.
The college committees took an active role in last week’s protests, hosting events every night in all the bars. Halifax College were commended for their efforts after they started the campaign with a thirty-strong bar crawl, claiming that “shutting bars is antisocial behaviour”.
The SU remain optimistic that the university will compromise on their proposals and are meeting with the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Felicity Ridly, this week.
Armstrong said: “They’ve seen the reaction of students and they’re now going to talk about it.
“It just proves that the student action’s working – it’s fantastic”, he added.
However, an SU plan to take over the less profitable bars has been rejected by the university. David Garner confirmed that the SU would not be given control of any of the bars.
To this, Armstrong said: “I don’t know where David Garner gets his information from. We’re in discussions with the Deputy Vice Chancellor, the Head of Commercial Services – we’re not in discussions with the Press Office”.
The SU are hoping that their campaign will continue on the same scale this week, with the planned “barcotts” in all colleges. The university have decided to close five bars during the protest, and Vanbrugh and Derwent bars will have picket lines outside to discourage students from using them.
However, many students doubt whether the university will take notice. One student at a Goodricke event on Sunday commented: “I’ve talked to people in the university, including cleaners and lecturers, and its only three people who actually want the bars to close, and they’re at the very top. They earn £100 grand and they don’t care about the little man”.