Students studying at the Dumfries campus are to have an elected representative on the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) for the first time as of the Spring election. The position – entitled the School of Interdisciplinary Studies Representative – is intended to improve relations between the approximately 300 University of Glasgow students who study in Dumfries and the SRC.
The separate Dumfries Campus is located seventy-seven miles from the main Gilmorehill campus and is also the site of study for students from the University of the Highlands and Islands, the Open University and the Scottish Rural University College. It has been operational since 1999.
A student body partially-funded through the SRC in tandem with other university bodies does currently exist to serve Dumfries-based students from all these institutions, known as the Crichton University Campus Student Association (or CUSCA). However complaints have been made about CUSCA’s lack of visible links with the SRC, suggesting that CUSCA places a greater emphasis on the social aspect of Dumfries students’ experience than on academic representation.
At present one representative from CUSCA does sit on the SRC but University of Glasgow students based in Dumfries do not directly elect this representative. It is hoped that this new School of Interdisciplinary Studies Representative position will improve Dumfries-based students academic representation and will provide greater accountability.
The position is uncontested. Sole nominee Aaron Martin, a third year studying Environmental Stewardship, is hopeful of the new SRC position’s potential, stating: “I am pleased that a position for a school representative at the Interdisciplinary school is available however, I am perplexed to why a position has not been created before. There is a detachment between the campuses where the students here feel isolated.
He continued: “I am going to attempt to connect the Dumfries campus with the main campus and bring all the benefits that main campus students receive to the students here. Although 77 miles separates the campuses the students at the Interdisciplinary school should have their opinions acknowledged and their concerns voiced.”
SRC President Breffni O’Connor explained: “This position will operate in much the same way as all of the other School Rep positions on SRC Council. The representative will sit on the Staff Student Liaison Committee, where they will be able to raise issues that have been brought to their attention by fellow students. The position will further improve the student experience of Dumfries students as all academic issues will now be raised in the appropriate forum and if not solved on campus level can be brought to the attention of the SRC executive.”
A spokesman for the University told us: “We work very closely with the SRC and view the creation of an interdisciplinary studies representative in Dumfries as a very positive development. We are committed to ensuring that all of our students across our range of campuses enjoy the best learning, research and social experiences possible.”