By Kelly Munro:
Students were thrilled last week by the news that Western Sydney University would reverse the controversial decision to limit Study Hall hours.
The announcement came on February 23rd, following strong public outcry by students who felt the decision would be detrimental to their studies. The University issued a statement on the restoration of Study Halls hours on both the University website and the Facebook page.
“As a result of the overwhelmingly positive feedback received regarding Library Study Hall, the service will be reinstated as of the 27th February 2017,” stated the University website.
As well as reinstating the existing Study Hall hours, the university has decided to extend hours on the Bankstown, Parramatta South and Penrith campuses. “Fridays are now 24 hours. Study Hall will start when the library closes, and go through to library opening at 9:30am on Saturday morning,” the announcement outlined. Saturday nights will now also be available for students who cannot study during the week, with Study Hall hours beginning at 4:30pm and continuing until 11pm Saturday night. The Hawkesbury campus, however, will still only be able to access Study Hall during formal exam periods.
2016 Western Student Representative Council (SRC) President Michael Wright stated the SRC was excited about the reinstatement of Study Hall Hours. “The program, which allows access to Library resources outside of staffed hours, is vital for students who work full-time,” Michael explained.
“This is a win for students. Student’s collective action, in speaking out against the proposed cuts, has caused the University to reverse its decision.”
Tegan Tattersall, a mature aged student in her second year of a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Applied Leadership and Critical Thinking, is delighted the University has decided to reinstate Study Hall hours. As a mother, she believes the Study Hall program is vital for students with other commitments. “I am relieved that [the University] listened to its students. It’s comforting to know that I will still have a place to study after hours that fits around my life,” Tegan said.
“I hope [the University] realises the value Study Hall holds,” stated Sam Glazebrook, a third-year Medical Science student. “This might also be a wake up call to students to make use of the University’s resources or risk losing them.”
Tegan, along with many other students, believes that this reversal highlights the importance of open discussion between the University and its students about funding, particularly in regards to Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) allocation.
Students were shocked when the University announced its proposed changes to Study Hall hours, sparking major online debate, resulting in a change.org petition being shared on various social media platforms to encourage the University to review the changes.
The changes to Study Hall hours would have seen the program only available during the formal exam period, for a total of six weeks a year. The library hours would not change, allowing students to study from 8am-9pm during the week at most campuses.
Study Hall will be available to students again from 27th February. For further information about library and Study Hall hours, visit the Western Sydney University website or talk to your campus librarians.
Editors Note: Michael Wright is also an elected student editor for 2017, as there is not yet an elected SRC President for 2017, Michael was conflicted off this article.