By Ryan Gould
The relocation of Stephenson and John Snow colleges from Queen’s Campus to Durham City is to force the relocation of Ustinov College from its present Howland Farm site beginning in 2018-19.
As part of the University Executive Committee’s plans to repurpose Queen’s Campus as an International Foundation College, Ustinov College will be relocated to a new site near Durham Business School.
It is understood that members of Queen’s Campus colleges will start being moved to the Howlands Farm site in September 2017 in line with recommendations approved by the University Council in May.
“We find it outrageous that the University has decided upon this without any kind of student consultation with Ustinov and without informing us after the decision was made (several weeks ago), leaving us to find out post-hoc as whispers from University staff,” Jamie Graham, the Ustinov Graduate Common Room (GCR) Chair, wrote in a post on a public Ustinov College Facebook page.
Members of the Ustinov GCR executive committee were told around March that the College could potentially host up to 200 undergraduate Queen’s Campus students during the transitional two-year period while the Queen’s Campus move is being completed.
“We were preparing to fight this, and Glenn McGregor, our principal, had made our case in University committees,” Thom Addinall-Biddulph, DSU Liason Officer for Ustinov GCR, said. “We had no idea anything more than that was being proposed, and there was nothing definite about hosting undergraduates.”
Ustinov GCR President, Kirstyn Raitz, was reportedly told of the plans several weeks ago, but was sworn to secrecy by College staff due to concerns over job security. Rumours surrounding the plans began to leak to students last week, though members of the GCR executive committee were unaware until Saturday evening when the plans became clear.
“It is our understanding that Ustinov will remain a postgraduate-only college, another area of concern for us, at least apart from the transitional 2017-18 year when some undergraduates will live at Howlands,” Addinall-Biddulph said.
“Please note we don’t blame the Queen’s Campus students at all, who are facing even greater upheaval.”
The relocation of Ustinov to a new site near Durham Business School will not be the first time the College has moved. In 2006, Ustinov moved from Parsons Field, which has since been occupied by St Cuthbert’s Society.
The proposals will go before the University Council on Friday.
Photograph: Durham University