We’re getting fat. And we’re not talking about the ‘Freshers’ 15.’ The University is bursting at the seams as student numbers grow and resources continue to be stretched. Overcrowding is nothing new, and grumbles about queues in the marketplace are never far from the top of the hot list on Yik Yak. Exeposé undertook a similar investigation just last year, and it appears little has changed since then. Just when will they learn?
Slow to respond to our student number enquiries but lightning fast at erecting global 100 bragging banners, it’s clear to see where the University’s priorities lie. League tables over the student experience, research recognition over study space. What does this much celebrated world ranking really mean for those of us studying at Streatham, waiting 40 minutes for a portion of curly fries or struggling to find a seat in the library? Very little, it seems.Of course, more students equals more money, but the sheer weight of numbers is starting to take its toll on what is an already very compact campus. We’re of the opinion that the University is far closer to breaking point than the 22,000 maximum cap set by the powers that be, and unless more resources are invested in improving services and facilities, the campus will soon be unable to cope with the excess demand.
It’s interesting to note, also, how insistent the University were that our survey data was accurate. So much so, in fact, that we had to make a new one just two days before our print deadline. Instead of scrutinising the legitimacy of our data, perhaps it would have been more productive to listen to the student opinion we honestly gauged. You’d have thought their eagle-eyed gaze might have noticed a glaring error in the information they provided us with about the music department’s budget a fortnight ago… Alas no, they misquoted a figure, overstating the budget by a huge £300,000 (see correction below). It’s not just us students who are struggling. There has been concern about the extra workload forced upon academics, who are in some cases being asked to mark more essays than ever before.
Ultimately, there are too many students at Exeter, whether the University likes it or not. Will this investigation spur them into action? Will they listen to us this time? Somehow we doubt it, but you can’t blame us for trying.
You may have also noticed that this issue of the paper is a bit fatter than usual. It’s our biggest issue to date, and we’ve celebrated with the creation of a beautiful BUCS wallchart. Designed by our very own Sport Editor Rob Cross, it features every single one of this term’s home fixtures. We’ve also included all the key Varsity dates so you can cheer on the Green Army in style between now and Christmas – look out for part two next term.
Elsewhere we have a couple of exciting interviews. With their latest album being tipped for a Mercury prize, we were delighted to wangle a chat with guitarist Hugo White of indie sensations The Maccabees. Check out page 20 for the full lowdown. Mock The Week regular and comic of the moment James Acaster also entertained us with his dulcet, dead-pan tones, yet didn’t really want to discuss Dara Ó Briain’s head. Head to Arts & Lit (page 29) to read the interview.
Finally, a quick reminder that we’re running a mental health survey on our website right now. We’re hoping the University won’t discredit this one, so do make sure to fill it out!