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Queen Mary students angered by price of campus theatre hire

By London Student, University of London News
Queen Mary's Great Hall Theatre

Queen Mary’s Great Hall Theatre

Student societies at Queen Mary are angry at being told that in order to use their campus’ theatre space, they will have to pay the corporate rate of £357 a day.

The Queen Mary Theatre Company (QMTC), a student society, was quoted £2,500 of “internal charges” for a seven-day hire of the recently refurbished great hall.

These prices prevent students from developing their own abilities, according to Wai Wan Choy, co-president of QMTC. He said it is “ridiculous considering it’s a college-owned venue but has been priced out of range for many student societies and groups”.

The rates compare unfavourably to those of other University of London colleges. University College London (UCL) offers twelve weeks of free student and staff use for their equivalent-sized venue.

Queen Mary’s theatre space, which seats up to 770 people, was officially re-opened in February following a £6.3 million refurbishment, but has since been mainly used for college lectures and commercial out-of-college hire.

The college was also only willing to offer corporate rates when the Queen Mary Student’s Union (QMSU) attempted to book the venue for their upcoming winter ball.

According to a member of the winter ball committee, the union attempted “to negotiate prices”, but the quote given by the college forced the union to resort to hiring a third-party venue off-campus which was less expensive and had a higher capacity.

Sarah Sarwar, president of QMSU, said it was important that the space “can be available to student groups”.

She added: “The union doesn’t have any official comment on [the pricing] yet, but the internal charges strike me as so bizarre”.

The college defended the internal hire charges by claiming that the venue requires considerable resources to maintain and that consequently “internal users need to contribute financially to its upkeep and the cost of hosting events”.

Adrian Polglase, London Student: Issue 4 (18/11/2013)

Queen Mary Students' Union overrules members on sports team merger

By London Student, University of London News

Queen Mary Students’ Union’s Board of Trustees has overruled a vote at its Annual Members’ Meeting to keep the sports teams of the college and its medical school separate.

Members voted in favour of Queen Mary and Barts and The London continuing to compete separately in British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) competitions in February. However, the trustees decided in June that the two will compete as a “single entity” under the name “Queen Mary (Barts and The London Medics)” from 2013/14 onwards.

Their decision follows a BUCS review which decided to prevent medical students competing for both their medical school and parent university.

Keeping the teams at Queen Mary separate would make fielding women’s rugby and basketball teams impossible according to Kayah Abdulmajed, the incoming Mile End sports officer. In the context of the union’s Diversity and Equality Policy, the trustees ruled that this would be unacceptable.

But Andrew Smith, the outgoing vice-president of the Barts and The London Student Association (BLSA), called for a delay on overriding the members’ vote until a “more objective review” took place.

He said keeping the teams separate “preserves the identity and heritage of both institutions.”

Sarah Sawar, the incoming union president, disagreed and supported the trustees’ decision. She said: “We have individuality across the campuses and that is something special, but that does not mean that we are separate.”

Michael Woods, president of Queen Mary’s men’s rugby, told QMessenger: “We fail to understand why BUCS have felt the need to enforce change when we feel there was no problem with the previous system”.

Eleanor Matthews, president of Queen Mary’s women’s rugby, voiced support for the trustees’ decision. She told the newspaper that “the other option would have completely devastated mine and several other sports club.”

Ivy Lim, from Queen Mary’s women’s basketball team, shared this view. She said that had the teams remained separate, “in terms of club development, our good work from the past three years would’ve been in jeopardy”.

Adrian Polglase, London Student: Issue 1 (16/09/2013)