Answered By: Ewan McCubbin
Last Updated: May 17, 2018     Views: 87

Thanks for your feedback.  We introduced this practice in Martyrs earlier this semester in response to the increasing practice of seat hogging that we had observed.  

Since Martyrs opened 5 years ago, we have always taken regular head counts of how many people were in the reading room.  What we have noticed during the current academic year, is more and more students leaving their belongings for long periods of time and therefore depriving other users of a desk.  

We started to monitor not only how many people were in the reading room but how many additional desks were "occupied" only with belongings.  We regularly observed anywhere from a third to half of the desks being hogged in this way and given the pressure on study space and that Martyrs only has 40 desks, we had to intervene.

Whilst I appreciate you feel stressed by having to rush back from lunch, your fellow students who are unable to find somewhere to work because desks have been reserved (which is a breach of University regulations) also feel stressed.  I would suggest you take belongings with you when you go for lunch.  That way you don't feel stressed, your belongings are not at risk of theft and other students are able to use the desks which are of course there for all postgrads.

I take your point that postgrads should be old enough/mature enough to behave appropriately in a shared space such as Martyrs, but evidently that was not the case for all users of the space, hence our intervention.  I can assure you that our staff do not enjoy spending time on this type of thing but we will do it when we need to.

Thanks again for your comments but we will continue to intervene when necessary in order to free up space.

Ewan McCubbin

Assistant Director (Public Services & Communications)

April 2018