Campaign Underway to Block University’s Changes to Pastoral Care in Halls

The University’s plans to change the pastoral care system in halls of residence have been received poorly by many students, with nearly 3,000 people signing a petition against the proposed changes. This move follows the Students’ Union ‘Your Hall, Your Call’ campaign, launched after the University made moves to restructure the current system without consulting students or tutors.

At the moment, each hall has their own warden as well as several resident tutors who support about 35 students each. However, under new plans wardens will be shared one between every three halls and hall tutors will each be responsible for around 50 students.

In response to these proposals, the Students’ Union launched an online petition that stated, ‘Regardless of what the new system looks like it is imperative that students are widely consulted on these changes’. The petition at www.ipetitions.com/petition/yourhallyourcall has attracted significant support with students, many of whom feel disappointed with the lack of consultation. Most comments on the petition also defended the current welfare system, saying that tutors and wardens played an important role in both the safety and the atmosphere in halls. One student wrote: “The loss of tutors and wardens is a loss of hall spirit. Without the input of tutors and wardens who personally care for the hall and the welfare of the students within it, halls of residence just become buildings with bedrooms in.”

Whilst tutors and wardens are not being completely removed from the pastoral care network, the planned reduction in their numbers have led to fears that those who remain will face the strain of an increased workload that could impair the care they can provide. Several current tutors writing on the petition website also expressed their surprise at not being consulted about a decision they feel may affect their duties.

Following the petition, the Students’ Union issued an open letter to the head of Student Services, which is available to read on the SU website. The SU say that they “want to proceed by collaborating with the University”.

Fiona Crosby

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