The recent Sheffield Students' Union restructure has led to a number of changes to the team's staff work in and in the areas of student activity we support. In the cost-saving process, we have successfully increased the resource we give to all of our student activity. This has resulted in an increased demand for front facing space.
I can absolutely assure you that it is in no way our intention to have a negative impact on the student media teams' ability to produce high quality output. Indeed the reverse, our aspiration is to invest our resources more firmly in supporting them and all our other student led activity.
One of the challenges is how to increase resource for the others without damaging the capacity of anyone. It is important to note that at no point has a final decision on the proposal for these spaces been made, nor was it agreed upon by the previous officer team.
On Tuesday 14th July the proposed plans were shared with affected staff and Officers for consultation ahead of a final decision. I personally spoke to Forge Media to make them aware of the potential changes on Wednesday 15th July. I have since contacted the four media heads to arrange a detailed conversation next week to attempt to find a solution which satisfies the conflicting needs of different student groups.
After this morning’s statement, I felt the need to put out something a bit clearer. In simple terms, the difficulty the SU is facing is to find new space for 6 co-ordinators who will work on facilitating student activities, in media, sustainability, internationalisation, liberation and academic life. What is needed is not simple staff office space, but an area for students who enjoy and partake in these activities to engage with an expert staff member to help make these activities bigger and better for other students to enjoy.
This, I am sure you will all agree, is very important. What has happened over the last few days, has been that one proposal for this space (that using some of the Media Hub), has been perceived as the final decision. This is not the case. The Students’ Union wants to work with Forge to understand what they need for the future as well as the needs of these other student groups.
Myself and staff members involved in the room allocation process will be meeting Forge on Monday to do this. As Officers, we will prioritise what students believe is necessary to continue and strengthen their activities, and as such, the Officer team will seek to pursue whatever plans Forge and other student groups need.
The “#SaveOurHub” campaign shows how important Forge is to students, and we will not ignore this feedback, but we believe it is best for us to talk with Forge to find the best solution possible for all.
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