Wow, it has been a very hectic month or so with various activities. I can’t believe we’re into June already!
I have some good news to announce. I am very pleased to announce that on Tuesday a motion I put to Kent Union Council was passed almost unanimously. This will mandate Kent Union’s President to hold a full-scale review of postgraduate requirements across the University of Kent.
There have been some concerns among postgraduates about matters from opening hours outside of term-time of various facilities, including the library, study spaces, the campus shop and availability of staff in various services across campus. Nobody would expect the university to run it like there are 20,000+ students on campus during the holidays. What is needed however is a good balance between the requirements of postgraduates and what the university can offer.
This review should ensure that ALL postgraduates are consulted in the process. My great concern is how there has been a great divide between the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and Kent Union currently. Attending the Union Council, it was very evident there are only two representatives for postgraduates across the whole of the university. To me, this is not justified and our voice is not being heard sufficiently on issues. I can entirely understand the frustrations of the GSA and accept their decision to withdraw from the Union. After all, if they are not getting what they need from Kent Union, then why not go it alone?
Still, I call for Kent Union to take postgraduate matters seriously, so I hope this is a step in the positive direction. My feeling is that due to lack of representation, issues such as postgraduate funding, demonstrating, accommodation, out-of-term facilities and general postgraduate matters across union services are not entirely understood.
My hope is that the full-scale review will take on board the issues all postgraduates have and ensure a working plan towards tackling the sorts of problems we have. There are matters which are so very different to undergraduates, in particular the situation with funding. I am very glad that despite there not being a sufficient voice in the Union Council for this issue, I was able to put my arguments across and secure the much-needed support to ensure this motion was passed.
Let our voices be heard!