24/7 confusion about status of student study space

The new Learning and Teaching building which opened at the beginning of semester, was initially announced by the MSA as being open 24/7. Source: Facebook

By  SIMON KUPERMAN and MATILDA BOSELEY 

Despite being announced by the MSA, the new Learning and Teaching building is still not a 24-hour study space.

The MSA seemingly scored a huge win and took to Facebook before the mid-semester break to announce that they had reached an agreement with the university that the new Learning and Teaching building was to be open around the clock.

“The Learning and Teaching Building will be open 24/7 for students to study. Just swipe in with your student card once the doors lock up in the evening,” said the post on the MSA Facebook page.

However since then, there have been multiple reports on the Monash StalkerSpace Facebook group from students who have been locked in and out of the building, security guards ushering students out, and swipe cards proving inaccessible.

On Sunday night, Ronnie Meoung posted on StalkerSpace questioning the validity of the MSA’s announcement after he and many students had been either kicked out or denied access after 5pm by security.

“It’s Sunday 5pm, and we see the need for more study spaces on campus as the Matheson [Library] closes, leading to an influx of assignment laden students with nowhere else to go.”

“MSA announced that the LTB would be open 24 hours … yet the doors lock at 5pm and security are at the doors stopping people from entering and kicking people out.”

The MSA released a statement last night on their Facebook page regarding the access issues.

“We found out yesterday that the university has put its decision under review and has limited 24-hr access to the LTB in the interim.”

“The LTB on weekdays (Monday to Friday) WILL STILL BE AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS 24 HOURS, but you can only enter before 12am … on weekends, the LTB will open at 8am and doors will close at 5pm. People can remain in common area study spaces but new arrivals after 5pm are no longer permitted.”

Micky Fisher

MSA President Micky Fisher expressed his disappointment with the situation.

“It’s frustrating that the arrangement has so quickly been changed by Monash,” he said.

“Looking at the Science Lounge [which is open 24/7], we have a clear demonstration that students value the resource and will broadly treat these facilities with respect while making great use of the facility.”

Mr Fisher said it took the MSA two weeks to become aware of the situation.

“University bureaucracy can be particularly difficult to navigate. Even with the best of relationships, official responses from the university were delayed. This wasn’t helped by the timing of the Easter break,” he said.

Securing a 24-hour study space was seen as a big win for the new party Together, which has just taken over the MSA after 12 years of control by rival party Go!.

A 24 hour study space has always been near the top of students wants list and consistently promised by parties during student union election campaigns, but something that former holder of the MSA, Go! had never been able to deliver on.

The MSA has now started a petition asking students how they would use 24 hour study space, aiming to show it to the university as proof of demand for such a space.

Monash University declined to comment on the issue.