Shared bar bugs students

October 24, 1997

CAMBRIDGE University colleges are neglecting their students in the pursuit of private money, according to student leaders.

Lucy Moses, president of Homerton College students union, said: "I understand conference hosting is becoming a financial necessity but when it gets in our way we will kick up a stink."

Ms Moses said Cambridge colleges are hosting conferences in term-time. These limit students' access to the dining hall and mean they often share their bar with conference guests.

Sarah Bonnet, Cambridge University Student Union president, said that there has been tension with college managers. "Over the vacation students are often expected to leave their accommodation, and conference guests are taking over facilities."

As the conference timetables move into term time, "some students are wondering where the university's priorities lie, with teaching the students, or hosting the conferences", she said.

But students were tolerant because the university faced losing Pounds 17 million college fees. "The poorer colleges need the conferences to make their money and many of the students recognise that," she said. "The union is much more bothered about college fees at the moment."

Kate Pretty, Homerton College principal, said that the college needs conference income. "When we introduced the facilities last year there was a lot of `shock-horror - we have to share our facilities', but I think the students are getting used to it now, " she said.

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