Falmouth Anchor Editor, Cece Armstrong, reports on yesterday’s UGM.
Yesterday afternoon the Chapel Lecture theatre held the first Union General Meeting of the academic year. A forum at which our FXU Presidents addressed the progress they have made with their manifesto promises, their Top 10 Priorities for the year were announced, and Senior Management from both Exeter and Falmouth Universities addressed the plans for student expansion.
The Presidents are fulfilling the promises that got them elected earlier in the year, making impressive headway on issues that are most important to the students they represent. Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, President of Student Experience, is pushing to have more clubs and societies based on the Falmouth Campus, for better access to facilities around campus for disabled students, and for more information to be available to students regarding finding accommodation in the private sector. Alexa Webster, President of Community and Welfare, is pursuing an substantial amount of improvement for mental health facilities through planning to set up support groups (which are for all disabilities, not exclusively those related to mental health) and the development of a free stress free app for students.
The two academic Presidents have too been hard at work. Fred Mallin, FXU President for Falmouth, has primarily been addressing course-focused issues, working towards improved course collaboration and better parity between the Falmouth and Penryn campuses. Grace Fisher, FXU President Exeter, has been focusing on providing more support for International students on campus as well as more support for the study abroad programme for which she is setting up sessions for the end of this term and into second term.
If you’re interested in what the Presidents promised in their elections, you can still read their manifestos on the FXU website.
However it was during the Question and Answer period with Dave Hosken, Dean for Cornwall, and Peter Cox, Chief Operating Officer for Falmouth that it was clear that students weren’t getting the direct responses that they may have been hoping for. Although questions were answered, the answers distinctly lacked firm solutions to the problems raised.
Concerns over reprographic space on the Falmouth Campus raised by Illustration students were met with claims of expansion plans for summer 2016, but Cox was unable to give ideas of a resolution for what could be done between now and then, saying, ‘What do we do in the meantime? […] I don’t know the answer to that”. When questioned by a Photography student as to whether there is going to be something put in place to enlarge the work space in the photography centre to accommodate the 10% increase of Falmouth students, Cox could only reply, “again, I can’t answer how that decision has been arrived at.”
General concerns raised over the way in which the increase of the student population may affect both universities’ relationship with the local community were placated by Cox and Hosken by focusing solely on the fact that ‘a lot of people in Cornwall are very much aware of how much money universities and students spend in the local economy’ and that ‘the vast majority of people recognise the [economic] benefits that having students in the area has brought.’ There wasn’t much further attempt to understand other ways in which our relationship with the local community could be effected with regards to the continual increase of student numbers in Falmouth and Penryn.