It’s a win for the Charles, but a definite loss for our degrees

The student electorate deserves more than cynical manipulation by elected representatives

Mutterings of annoyance have been understandably heard as construction work rumbles on in the library. It is supposedly pretty hard to get a study room, some departments are floating all over the place, and the space that remains is holding on to far more literature than it was designed for. Building a new study room goes a long way to alleviating the problem it represents. If you’re still unhappy with the whole refurbishment thing, a stiff drink is on hand just next door.

Concerns about university investment being spent on something more akin to a common room are probably fair; it would be unrealistic to pretend nobody will take advantage of the proximity of the new space to the Charles during summer. Working on a looming deadline, however superficial the attempt may be, with a cold gin and tonic in hand on the hotter days of the year is a far more attractive prospect than a sweaty and sober day hovering above a tedious journal.

While it is truly not our place to recommend mischief, I suspect that when completely emptied of good intentioned workers, it will make a great place to have an impromptu drink and chat with friends in the middle of more pressing business. This does not really represent a bad thing. It would definitely help with any stress as exams and essay deadlines approach. Mild intoxication is a sure-fire way of avoiding the pitfalls of really not caring about where a tedious essay is headed. Problems with a reference? Down a shot. Missed a deadline? Down something bigger.

Perhaps studying and pub culture can be reconciled into the same thing. Heslington Hall seems perpetually concerned with making every facet of the university they run profitable. Why not the process of loaning books and reading them. Waive your library fees with every beer and burger purchase? While the last orders bell will struggle to make the transition, our library as it is open barely later than last orders anyway.

Perhaps studying and pub culture can be reconciled into the same thing

The Charles is probably secretly the biggest winner in all of this. While the food is certainly nearly all fresh out of a microwave and on sale for a reason, it probably does need a hand in keeping up businesses despite seeming busy. Obviously, while it is not a campus bar, it is still a more regular fixture for students than most of them actually are. Giving it more passing trade is probably going to go down well with local residents; the people who work there are not going to turn away the idea of more trade at a time when over 50 pubs shut every month due to lack of business. Out of the blue they’ve probably just landed the custom to fill seats and tables on any given day of the week.

Impressively still, the University administration has actually paid for something. Last term we were told that there would be no money for anything; for most things this is still very much the case. University employees are apparently to become an endangered species as cuts loom; the idea of taking anyone at all or further securing jobs seems attractive at the moment from a compassionate point of view. Perhaps some more attention should have been paid to the naming of it though, as “The New Building” comes off at best as a piece of unimaginative, end of meeting, rushing to get out of the door at 5pm on a Friday decision.

The decision represents a considerable success for our university overall; rarely do they make what seems like a wholly good choice without plenty of background prodding and poking. The library refurbishment is an annoyance, but has hardly been the subject of a massive campaign by YUSU or any campus media outlet.

Addressing the problem, then, is a break from the trend of a University that would close bars without consultation and ignore widespread opinion on portering.
And rarely have we got anything to smile at this year so far. Filled with cuts and promises of job losses, an amusing renovation makes for favourable reading, as does the prospect of someone getting tipsy at 3pm, falling asleep and failing to finish their essay.

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