Page last updated at 06:08 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 07:08 UK

Student anger at graduation move

Fulton House and green
Students say Fulton House will not be a nice backdrop for photographs

Plans to move graduation ceremonies for hundreds of Swansea University students from an historic hall to a marquee on campus are facing a backlash.

Council strikes on 16 and 17 July mean the grand Brangwyn Hall is out of bounds and instead ceremonies will be on a lawn near the campus entrance.

Students have set up a protest group on social networking site Facebook.

The university regretted the situation but reassured students that marquees were often used successfully elsewhere.

It comes after discussions were held with the council and union Unison to try to ensure the hall was exempt from strike action over pay.

A spokesman for Swansea council said the union initially rejected this option but eventually agreed to an exemption on Friday afternoon.

Dafydd Vaughan with pictures of his parents and the univerity's letter
I'm not happy and wondering if it's worth bothering when it's clearly going to be a disaster
Dafydd Vaughan hoped to graduate at Brangwyn Hall, like his parents
By this stage it was too late for the university to rearrange its plans to use the marquee for 12 ceremonies from 14 to 18 July, he said.
Angry students set up their Facebook protest when they heard about the plans in letters on Friday, and by Sunday, it had more than 240 members.

Computer science student Dafydd Vaughan, 21, from Abergavenny, said he was hoping to follow in the footsteps of his parents, Bob and Sue Vaughan, who both graduated at Brangwyn Hall.

'Building site'

"I'm livid. The campus is currently a building site," he said.

"I was looking forward to my graduation and have already ordered my gown and photographs.

"I'm not happy and wondering if it's worth bothering when it's clearly going to be a disaster."

He said there other venues not under council control which would be more appropriate on campus such as the Taliesin Theatre, which is on campus.

Dafydd's father Bob said: "As a graduate of Swansea University myself I am outraged that my son will not have the opportunity to celebrate his achievements over the last four years in a fitting way."

Students on the Facebook group are also worried about the fact the marquee will be erected on Fulton Green - which they claim is a "roundabout" at the university's entrance.

Brangwyn Hall
Brangwyn Hall is usually used for Swansea's graduation ceremonies
But the university has reassured them that traffic will be banned in the area for the graduation week.

They are also concerned that some guests who are unable to fit into the marquee will have to watch the proceedings via a video link to a nearby lecture theatre.

But the university says the marquee should be able to hold more guests than can normally be accommodated in Brangwyn Hall.

Only guests invited in addition to the allocated two guests per student should have to use the lecture theatre, it said in a statement.

Professor Richard B Davies, vice-chancellor of Swansea University, said: "This is not the first time the graduation ceremonies have been held at the university campus, or the first time high-profile events or gatherings have taken place on Fulton Green.

"The university is doing everything in its power to ensure an enjoyable and memorable occasion for all graduating students this year."

A Swansea council spokesman said: "It is disappointing that these events at the Brangwyn Hall were cancelled owing to Unison's industrial action. "




SEE ALSO
Council staff agree strike dates
24 Jun 08 |  UK Politics
Council workers vote for strike
23 Jun 08 |  UK Politics

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