Kelly Keat addresses Aber Uni Council to fight for Free Wednesdays and fewer fees

Aberystwyth University Students' UnionCONTINUING the work done by last year’s Union President and Activities Officer, Kelly Keat is writing to the Aberystwyth University Council, standing up for the student body after polls and calls for Wednesday lectures to be removed and for the cost of both AberSoc memberships and Sporty Cards to be absorbed into the £9000 tuition fee.

Jacob Dafydd-Ellis and Harriet O’Shea, President and Activities Officer respectively, campaigned both in the run-up to their election and while in their roles to bring about these changes which have been echoed by officers before them and since. Their open letter to Aberystwyth University in 2015 was received but no action was taken by the institution.

Kelly is again stressing the importance of these activities as an indispensable component of the university experience, and that to jeopardise any students opportunity to compete for their university doesn’t make sense.
When asked about what she wanted to see from the Council this time, Kelly had this to say:

Kelly Keat“I hope this letter will re-open the conversation about the need for Wednesday afternoon lectures to be freed up. This is vital, not only for BUCS sport but also to give students a regular day each week to undertake vital things, such as visiting the careers office, which they might otherwise not have time for. The letter also calls for ‘Sport Aber’ and ‘AberSoc’ fees to be covered by our tuition fees.
This is a manifesto point that I was elected on, and over the last year I have constantly received feedback from students who feel that the fees are not only unfair but also bureaucratic in design. If the full proposed sports centre is not to be introduced in the short term, then I strongly feel that students shouldn’t be forced to pay these fees to take part in extracurricular activities.”

The letter, at the latest count co-signed by 47 Tîm/Team Aber sports clubs, details the ease at which this could be done for the benefit of the students. Calculations made for the letter find that the cost of absorbing the AberSoc/Sporty Card fees “would cost approximately the same as 40 student’s fees for one year or 13 students completing a full three year undergraduate degree. This is a smaller amount of students than are in the Netball Club or the Debating Union.”

The current provision has lectures finish at 13:00 on Wednesdays to allow students to make it to home fixtures, but should any of them have an away fixture or a trip organised mid-week they are left having to choose between their studies and their sport. The argument being made is that students shouldn’t be made to choose as they are still representing the university, competitively or otherwise.

In the 12 months since the last open letter, previous ASM Sports Editor Illtud Dafydd polled students in the first Student Sports Survey and found that over 70% of students were dissatisfied with the facilities on on campus and in town, as well as with the Sporty Card. Business consultancy KKP have also proposed a 5-year regeneration plan to renew the sports services and facilities of the university, to bring it into the same league as Varsity rivals Bangor, who have themselves had an influx of funding and refurbishment in the last four years.

With student elections only just passed this will no doubt become one of the working points of the incoming officers, whether or not this letter is successful in its endeavors. Having made good on two of her manifesto policies and another four already in motion, Kelly hopes to see a difference in the response from the university this time around.

The letter can be found in full here.