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Planned ResLife reforms delayed after staff opposition

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Plans that would have seen ResLife staff living in with first-years have been delayed after a feverish period of consultation saw many existing staff members concerned about student wellbeing.

Planned changes to ResLife Advisers, originally reported by The Mancunion last month, will now be delayed by a year until September 2020.

Additional consultation is now planned, with staff told they will find out more on the 29th of April.

Original concerns about the proposed changes included first-years feeling “uncomfortable” about their behaviour around full-time ResLife staff, ResLife staff becoming isolated, and the feasibility of the plans.

An email sent to staff this morning and seen by The Mancunion reads: “I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on the proposed changes to the ResLife Team in Residential Services, for which we are currently involved in a consultation period.”

The email goes on to say that the planned changes attracted a “range of feedback”, and notes that whilst some feedback was positive, there were concerns raised about whether the proposed changes would “achieve the desired aims of further improving the student experience” within halls.

Senior ResLife bosses are now taking the time to explore in detail the objections and suggestions raised during the consultation process.

Whilst many students and staff members will see the delay as a win, there is still concern regarding the future of some wardens and deputies working in halls of residence. Staff will not know more until discussions continue on the 29th of April.

One anonymous staff member, who was against the original plans, said: “This is a huge step towards crafting a meaningful pastoral care system that works for all involved. Undoubtedly there are issues that need addressing but hopefully, by providing more time and a larger platform for discussion amongst stakeholders, we can ensure that the best system is found.”

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “The ResLife team is extremely important to those living in our Halls of Residences and the team’s priority will always be the welfare and support of our students.

“After extensive consultation with students and staff, we recently proposed some changes to the ResLife provision at the University. However, we have decided to postpone one aspect of those the changes relating to Senior ResLife Advisor and ResLife Advisor team roles. This comes after listening to further feedback from staff and students.

“We will now conduct a longer period of thought and consultation and any changes to the Advisor roles will therefore be implemented from September 2020.”

Tags: halls of residence, Manchester, Manchester University, Reslife, University of Manchester

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