YUSU’s leadership have submitted an emergency motion to tonight’s Union General Meeting designed to mandate the Union to actively campaign for an October opening of Langwith bar.
The emergency motion comes after approval for the autumn opening of the first Student Union bar in Langwith was withdrawn by the University yesterday, as reported by Nouse.
Keith Lilley, University Director of Facilities Management claimed that “pressure on the Directors of Facilities, Management and Estates to complete a large number of high priority projects this summer,” has delayed the work needed on the bar from occurring over the summer to commencing in October, rescheduling the opening for January 2009.
The motion, which will be voted on at the Union General Meeting (UGM) held tonight, mandates all Union Officers to “actively campaign and lobby the University and Vice-Chancellor to allow the project to run and open by 1st October 2008.” It was proposed by Langwith Chair, Zach Pepper, and is supported both by other YUSU officers and fellow college chairs.
Redevelopment work on the bar was supposed to begin at the end of this term, enabling the opening of the new venue to coincide with the start of Freshers’ week in October.
However in an email to YUSU Services and Finance Officer Matt Burton, Sally Neocosmos, University Registrar and Secretary, stated: “following discussions among a number of senior colleages, the decision was taken recently to hand over the Langwith Bar area to YUSU to run as a commercial venture. This is to confirm that January 2009 remains the date on which the outstanding project planning is being based. We were all aware that your preferred start date was October but we agreed that we could only commit ourselves with confidence to a January 2009 start.”
Burton expressed his disappointment at the decision, saying: “We thought we’d found a window of opportunity in the summer when the Langwith walkway project is being done, and the whole area will have to be shut down with regards to asbestos in the walkway, so they’ll be no people coming in and out,” he said.
“We thought that would be the perfect time to do our project as it’ll be the least disruption to people in that area.”
If passed, the motion proposes for all Union Officers to actively campaign and lobby the University and Vice-Chancellor, Brian Cantor to allow the redevelopment project to run over summer in time for an October opening.
“Hopefully, if we get to speak to the Vice-Chancellor about this, he’ll see that students care about this our project, and that it could be really beneficial to the university estate,” Burton said. “If we have it ready for Open days, I think it could be really good as a showcase to show potential students what we have on offer.”
“We’re very strong advocates of working through diplomacy and democracy, and we’ve gone through the democratic processes of the university, but now it’s come down to us having to get the Vice-Chancellor’s ear to present our case as to why this is so important to us and to the kind of social welcome that Langwith has to offer in October,” he added.
If the motion is made into union policy, the plans for a student-lead protest to further the campaign for the new venue will be given the go-ahead.
The UGM is being held tonight in V/045 from 7.30pm. Online voting on the YUSU website will open soon afterwards.