University of Manchester students have expressed their frustration after it was revealed brand new facilities will be available to only those studying enrolled on a Business module.
Alliance Manchester Business School (MBS) underwent a major renovation programme as part of the university’s wider £1 billion Campus Masterplan.
New features include the Eddie Davies Library, 1,320 metres in size, an Executive Education Centre with translation booths, and University Green, a 40,500 square foot retail and leisure space boasting a Five Guys and Co-op supermarket.
Although such retail outlets will be open to the public, new learning spaces have been reserved for use by those that are studying an Alliance MBS module.
The module-based access system is similar to that of the Stopford Building, where UoM ID cards prevent students on certain courses using work space, despite having lectures held there.
Technically, access to new facilities could be gained by taking an elective Business module, regardless of school or faculty.
The substantial investment has sparked controversy, especially considering the routine pressures of overcrowding in the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons and other study spaces on Main Campus during the January exam period.
The opening of the new Eddie Davies library has also seen the closure of existing university facilities.
The Precinct Library is being amalgamated into the new Alliance MBS building, meaning that a number of students are losing study space with no replacement.
An unnamed 2nd year student voiced their frustrations over the new addition to the Oxford Road campus.
”I would say that it’s ridiculous that they’ve spent so much money on a business school with new libraries when other students can’t use them. Why have they invested our money into a facility that we can’t even use?
”Why can’t we enter? I am furious that we’ve been sidelined for the degrees we’ve chosen. I think, especially during revision season when the library and Ali G are overcrowded, we need more space and the new business libraries are a brilliant way to sort this problem out easily.”
A spokesperson for Alliance MBS said: “The renovation is part of the University’s campus masterplan. It received further funding from Lord Alliance of Manchester and £9.7million funding from HEFCE-managed UK Research Partnership Investment.
“All University students who are enrolled on an Alliance MBS module will have access via their ID cards. This includes full-time and part-time Alliance MBS students across all of our Undergraduate, Masters, MBA, Postgraduate Research and Executive Education programmes, and students studying a single or multiple Alliance MBS modules, regardless of their school or faculty.
“This is the same principle the Stopford Building uses for medical students, and various engineering-based buildings across campus.
“Like any building project of this size, there are still glitches that need to be ironed out and we will be working with our students, staff and alumni to make sure that the space works for them in the best possible way.”
The University of Manchester Library said: “Each year we measure the number of students entering our libraries during exam periods and seek to create additional spaces where possible. For example, this January we opened up the Stephen Joseph Studio and additional space in the Main Library.
“We will continue to monitor occupancy across our libraries and work with estates to utilise other areas where necessary during busy periods.”