The Students’ Guild has accepted their decision to close the St. Luke’s Guild Shop was poorly communicated to the 4,037 students who use the campus’s services. No emails or official notices were distributed to students to declare the closure.
The Guild’s Board of Trustees decided to close G47 in preparation for the 2019/20 academic year, before the current student leadership team were in office.
if it was Streatham, there would be much more noticeKatie Heard, VP Welfare & Diversity
However, the closure was not discussed by the St. Luke’s Executive Council, who are responsible for St. Luke’s representation, until 2 October, over three weeks into the new term.
Action logs taken from the St. Luke’s Executive meeting record Sunday Blake, VP Postgraduate, admitting the Sabbatical Officers were “not told in time” about the decision. Katie Heard, VP Welfare & Diversity, added the Sabbs did “understand that if it was Streatham, there would be much more notice.”
St. Luke’s students were disappointed by the lack of consultation. Many students did not learn about the closure until they saw the closed shop. Iain Logan, a second year Medicine undergraduate, told Exeposé: “I found out by walking up to the door to get a drink and realising there was nothing inside, with no notices explaining what was going on.”
Logan added “I’m very disappointed. It was a great place to get a snack without having to join the increasingly long queues in the more expensive Cross-Keys. They also had a larger selection of snacks and useful stationery. Surely a few more study spaces could have been found elsewhere without losing such a key utility in a small space.”
Elinor Jones, a third year Medical Science undergraduate and a member of the Medical Sciences SSLC, further explained “as a student of St Luke’s Campus, I am disappointed at the lack of communication and consultation between the Guild, staff and students. Until its closure in the last few weeks the space was popular, a hub for activity and the opportunity to buy essentials from stash to stationery, items you cannot obtain anywhere else on campus.
“As a member of the Medical Sciences SSLC, I feel students would have benefited from a discussion about how best to use the space, considering our limited options on the seemingly forgotten campus.”
We accept students’ frustrations about the lack of clarity and communication on the closure of the shop, and we will do our best to learn from thisStudents’ Guild spokesperson
A Students’ Guild spokesperson said: “The difficult decision to close the shop was taken to readdress the balance between the retail and membership services available to our membership at St. Luke’s.
“The closure of the shop will mean that the future of the space can be student-led, turning into a bookable space for societies, groups and events. We are consulting students, and will continue to, on what they would like to see in the Guild space.
“The Student Leadership Team and our membership departments Activities, Advice and Voice will all be spending time on St. Luke’s each week to ensure students are able to make the most of opportunities and services.
“We accept students’ frustrations about the lack of clarity and communication on the closure of the shop, and we will do our best to learn from this for the future decisions affecting our direct student services, and that consultation will be at the heart of these decision.”
Patrick Hoyle, Guild President, has been vocal about the Student’s Guild and the University’s failures to represent St. Luke’s students.
On 27 September, Hoyle tweeted from his Guild President account:
Hoyle said “The Guild Shop on St. Luke’s has regrettably been closed, with the decision being taken before the summer but after the previous academic year for financial reasons. This decision, although disappointing to many students, presents an opportunity for the space to be developed into something student-led through consultation.
“I am keen to hear from students about what they want the space to be developed in to, and to come and see myself, the other Student Leaders and the Guild’s membership departments on St. Luke’s each week.”
Originally published in the 14/10/19 issue of Exeposé.
Editor: Harry Caton