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Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University of Wellington Students Association. Vol 40 No. 11. May 23 1977

Library Cut—backs

page 2

Library Cut—backs

The faculty that seems to be hardest hit is that of Commerce and Administration. Some basic statistical figures will give show to what I mean. The figures were taken on the 1st July, 1976. This year's figures are not yet available but the academic staff I've talked to say that the relevant course student numbers have not varied greatly.

Total Students 6874
Full-time students 4400
Part-time students 2475
C & A C & A University.
1356 20%
857 19.5%.
600 24.25%

The 'University Statistics' also show that for 1st year Commerce students those full time * = 246. 69% Part-time=109 31%

It is obvious from the last table, that B.C.A. students must do work over the May Holidays. Each of the core subjects require material to be handed in/tests be sat in the 1st or 2nd (Econ) week of the second term. In order for those students to be able to do the work, they need (a) a quiet place to study and (b) access to material, other than their notes, from which to research their assignments. From the tables we also see that at least 25% and up to 31% of the students are part-timers. When are these students meant to do their assignments or study if the Library Closes 5p.m. Each Day During the May Holidays.

To many of these students, the University Library is the only quiet place they have in which to do their work. Also the University Library, is the only library in Wellington that has all the relevant books/articles/ periodicals needed when doing a report or

The problems facing these students in the core subjects are also faced by students at 200 & 300 levels in Buad but even to a higher degree in ACC4. With regards to the Accy Dept it should be noted that;
(a)it has the worst staff to student ratio in the university — roughly 20 student units per staff member. At stage 200 level, average lecture is 210 students, and tutorial size of about 15-17, and at stage 300 level the average lecture size is 185 and tutorial size of 13-14. (If this was the case in Maths of or the Sciences, I wonder how long it would be, before the staff started to complain that it is extremely hard to give each student the sufficient attention that is needed when dealing with complex theory and technicalities. (The Accy staff are complaining.) I also wonder how long it would take for the University to react to this problem (at present the university is doing very little to overcome Accy's overcrowding problem).
(b)it has a higher proportion of part-time students to total number of students than any other department.

All the 200 &300 level 1st half year key courses have work/tests to be done by the 1st week after the May holidays. With four of the courses (Accy 211, Accy 201, Comm 201, Comm 301) there is a specified percentage of the final grade, and the other three courses, the assignment will be taken into account in final assessment.

In 200 level courses, the proportion of part-time students drops to about 15% of the lectures (due to the fact that many part-timers fail the 100 level courses and so the library cut-back is another obstacle for them.) At 300 level courses, the proportion of part-time students rises to 30-40% of the lecture again (this is because many students come back part-time to finish the degree or to gain additional course that will help them towards their A.C.A.)

The cutback in library basically comes down to this: because the library closer at 5p.m. during the May holidays, most part-timers were denied the chance to gain access to and utilise the university library. Even without the library cut-backs, the part-time student was at a serious disadvantage compared to the full-time students. This is often due to the fact that a part-time student has a full-time job and so must try to do his or her academic study in the evening when he/she is tired.

No wonder part-time students are upset and angry about the library cut-backs during our 'holidays' (Holidays for whom?)

Do you also realise that it is only five weeks to finals! Yes — that's right! With commerce courses, they are mostly 6 credit, half year courses. Due to the short-length of these courses, the pressure on students is on from the start. To close the library early at night before these examinations is just ludicrous. In fact I believe the first half year is harder than the second half for commerce students. With examinations, there is a 2 day (c. f. 2 weeks attend of year) between end of lectures and start of exams. The exams are squeezed into one week (c.f. 3½ weeks at end of the year) Of course, due to the benevolence of the University, we have the last Thursday and Friday off of the study break, before another set of courses start again.

It is little wonder that the Bursaries Committee of Prof Board comes to the conclusion that it takes the average student four years to do a three year course. It looks as if the Library Committee wants to keep it that way.

We demand that we have access to our library during our 'holidays' so that we can study and research essays that must be completed and handed in straight after the holidays. It is little wonder that we are pissed off and we want to see the cut-backs to the library hours in the August holidays, abolished.

P.S. If you are pissed off about the library cut back and how it affected you, don't just tell your mates, tell your lecturer, she/he most probably will agree with you. Also tell your Association so that we can act as one when trying to talk sense into the 'far sighted' and 'progressive' library committee.

— Tom Duggan