Students voice anger at overcrowding

Published

Photo: Sarah-Ann Lee

Photo: Sarah-Ann Lee

Alison Burns

Overcrowded classes are threatening the quality of teaching across the University, as students complain of being taught in rooms that do not accommodate numbers.

While most classes have been allocated more appropriate rooms, some students are still reporting overcrowding seven weeks into the new term.

The University allocates lecture theatres and the majority of seminar and tutorial rooms through the Central Room Booking Office (CRB). They issued a statement saying that Central Room Booking Office “aims to accommodate all classes in rooms suitable for their purposes”.

A spokesperson for the University explained that overcrowding issues are generally resolved in the first few weeks of term.

He said: “At the beginning of the new academic year there is a short period where classes can increase or decrease in size.

“Departments are responsible for advising when class numbers, and therefore room requirements, change.”

The spokesperson also stressed that room allocations were affected by too many classes competing for too few rooms.

He said: “The classes we have struggled to settle are within the size range of 35-60 and mainly involve two-hour classes, 11am-1pm Mondays and Wednesdays, and Tuesdays 2-4pm, all of which are peak teaching hours.

“Most university departments choose teaching times according to student preferences but this adds to the pressure of too many classes competing for the same resources across the same time period.”

However, students in the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Sciences say that their classes are still overcrowded.

Laura Walker, a Postgraduate Qualitative Research Methods student explained that although some issues have been addressed, there are still problems with teaching rooms.

She said: “There is now a video link to another room during the lecture but the tutorials are still packed.

“We have been given a bigger tutorial room but the main issue is that the students can’t all fit round the table.

“If you don’t arrive really quickly you have to take a chair from a stack in the corner and find a space to put it round the back wall. It makes taking notes difficult because there is nothing to lean on.

“The setup also makes it awkward to take part in the discussions because you can’t see and don’t feel included.”

She added: “Steps were taken to address the issue, and the new room is bigger than before, but it’s still not ideal.”

One languages student said: “Some classes in the School of Modern Languages and Culture have been hopelessly overcrowded. In one particular class, students sat on tables or even on the floor.”

He added: “The class was allocated a larger room in week four but our learning has been disrupted.”

Despite these grievances a spokesperson from the University said that all issues with overcrowded rooms had been settled.

He said: “From the CRB’s point of view, all the classes that had had issue with overcrowding have now been resolved.”