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Stop the University of Manchester accommodation services shutting down St Anselm Hall

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St Anslem Hall (Slems to those who know it) offers University of Manchester students a unique and rewarding experience during their time at university. The hall is currently facing its biggest threat. 

The accommodation office announced very recently that it was going to close the hall despite the fact some residents are already living there currently and many more were planning to move in. It seems as though this decision , and whoever was responsible for the decision to close St Anselm Hall, did so very quickly and without due consideration of the effects this would have on returning and current students, the domestic and staff team, the Alumni Association, and all others who constitute the community of St Anslem Hall.

We are aware that if the hall closes it is unlikely to reopen and even if it does it will never be the same. In its 127-year history St Anselm Hall has built up a number of long-standing traditions including the Junior Common Room (JCR).  These traditions help to form a close knit community, the like of which is not found anywhere else in Manchester University, but they also depend on older students who pass down what they have experienced to the next generation. To close the hall, even for a short time, will flush 127 years of history and community down the drain. The loss to both present and future students will be permanent and immeasurable.

This is made particularly pertinent by the fact that the St Anselm Hall community has been displaced and moved across varying halls, with no consideration of friendship groups or medical conditions. This is causing significant levels of distress to students who were expecting to return to hall in just a few weeks.

For many returning students, the hall is their home and they were returning to hall on the basis they would be part of the St Anselm community. As anyone who has spent any time in ‘Slems’ knows, St Anselm is no ordinary hall. In addition to a bed, students get a unique sense of community and opportunity that is simply not found elsewhere in the University of Manchester. A crucial part of this is the opportunity to give back to the local community, be that through scholarships,  charity work (in the past year the hall has hosted, among other things, a successful vigil for Fort Alice, and a food bank scheme), archive work (the Floreat: The Fallen project being an excellent example of this), and skills events. These are run by both students and the Alumni Association.  It seems a very harsh decision to cut the hall at the 11th hour with no consideration of the significant impact to both present and future students.

 It is impossible to  put a physical price tag on the experience that students gain, and the opportunities they are given, whilst at St Anselm Hall. The consistently high rate of returning students pays testament to this. The hall holds a special place in many peoples hearts and what it gives back to the university is unparalleled. I reiterate that if the hall were to close, even for a short period, all of this is unlikely to survive. The loss would be permanent and the impact to present and future students immersible.

 



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