This morning the University requested access to the occupied Grad Centre for technicians and media contractors. They are getting the media equipment in the GC upgraded. This will include things like upgrading the projector and sound system, probably at significant cost. The occupiers have agreed to facilitate this access.
Unfortunately however, as far as we are aware, this area is not actually used for teaching. It is mostly used for internal and external events. It is a disgrace that so substantial funds are spent on upgrades to areas that are already high-spec, designer areas of the university, when there are plenty of teaching areas that don’t even have media facilities. We do not have exact figures yet, but it is likely to be thousands, if not tens-of-thousands, of pounds. Obvioulsy, it is not just the equipment that costs money, but the expertise required to install it. Since this was outsourced by University Management, external companies can charge what they like and the University just has to pay up. This follows the same pattern as University Maintenance, carried out by MITIE. Allegedly, MITIE once charged the University approximately £1000 to open a window.
This pattern of outsourcing is madness and is an underlying and constant strain on University funds.
The Graduate Centre is being used more by students during this occupation than ever before! This building is the corporate face of the University and it is appropriate that students make use of it, while they still are in attendance at London Metropolitan.
It is a disgrace that media upgrades such as these are costing us such significant amounts of money. That money would be better spent on salaries for lecturers and support staff.
We understand that the existing (pretty high end stuff already) will be recycled through the ISS department and may find its way to another area of the University.