BYG students’ protest disrupts open day

THIRTY students staged a protest at the University open day on Saturday (19th) over what they described as a plea to take students’ voices seriously.

Students also handed out fliers with a list of reasons not to attend Aberystwyth University. Photo - Tomos Nolan

Students also handed out fliers with a list of reasons not to attend Aberystwyth. Photo – Tomos Nolan

Protestors, who started at 9am, wore tape over their mouths and carried signs in both Welsh and English, warning prospective students to “run away” while they still can, amongst other messages.The protest was organised by BYG (Byw yn gymraeg, Live in Welsh), a new student group. Students sat on the stairs outside the Union and above the steps leading from the road to the main concourse with the signs and handing out fliers to visiting families.

As well as the  protest on concourse, they took to Twitter using the hashtag #byg.

Students have criticised the protest, one saying “Telling prospective students not to come to Aberystwyth altogether is unhelpful, and if anything it will only embarrass those that will continue to study here whilst telling others not to study here.”

They continued, saying “it is right for students to call out the university administration in regards to how it treats staff, students and to explain why the university is falling in the league tables. Transparency is essential in these uncertain times for higher education.”

However I would not call the situation so bad I would reconsider whether or not I would study here. Last year I was a course representative and recall only one person speaking to me about the academic restructuring. My department even put on a talk where students could voice any concerns and find out about the restructuring but few turned up. In short, don’t blame the university for student apathy.”

Miriam Williams, a third year International Politics student, who has lived in Pantycelyn for two years was on the protest. She said “We’re here today because we feel like this is the only option to get the University to listen to our doubts and take the student’s voice seriously.”

“It’s a great shame that we have had to resort to means that bring embarrassment upon the University, we have tried other means but to no avail. We’ve tried to voice our uncertainty and we’ve tried to get the University to listen to our complaints but all were ignored. We don’t want to, and will not move from Pantycelyn unless the University provides the necessary facilities needed to ensure and protect the ethos of the Welsh community. This is not the end.””

You can find a full slideshow of pictures from the protest below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.