Approved at Union Council last Monday, we will be holding a referendum on Friday 30th October for students to decide whether they want the Hartley Library at Highfield campus to be open 24 hours a day, year-round.

In response to the increased student intake and in order to ‘reduce library overcrowding’, the University has planned to begin 24-hour opening of the Hartley Library from 2 November 2015 to 5 June 2016. The referendum is a response to the lack of student consultation carried about by the University. The last student consultation on a 24-hour library was run in 2013, when the exam trial period was considered. Most of the students consulted at that time have now left Southampton and the Students’ Union wants to ensure that current students have the opportunity to have their say.

The lack of student consultation means the Union cannot take a stance at the current time and to justify the expenditure of the project, meaningful consultation must occur to ensure that the outcome will benefit the majority of students. The Students’ Union also believes that the move to extended opening hours has not properly considered the need for a healthy working lifestyle and other welfare and safety issues.

A referendum is the Union’s most effective form of direct student involvement in decision-making and its result will give the Union a strong mandate to act on students’ views.

Sam Bailey, Vice-President Welfare says, “This referendum is to allow every single student to decide what position the Union takes on the proposals for the 24-hour library. We don’t have a stance on this issue that could affect every single student at the University – it really is up to them to decide. We’re entirely student-led and it’s important that students have their chance to voice their opinions on things that affect their education and life at University”.

On Friday 30 October, the following question will go to a general vote “Should Hartley Library be open 24 hours a day, year-round?” You will be able to cast your vote online at www.susu.org/vote between 00:01 and 20:00.

The result of the referendum will be announced on Friday night after voting closes.

 

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