Response to the inquiry into the erection of fencing at the Fallowfield Halls of Residence on 5 November 2020

Today (Thursday, 3 December) we publish the report into the erection of fencing at the Fallowfield Halls of Residence on 5 November.

This report recognises the significant negative impact that the erection of the fence had on our students, and highlights lack of engagement with students and poor project management as the major reasons for this serious failing, for which we have apologised.

We accept the inquiry’s findings in full, and will implement the report’s recommendations urgently.

Students should always be at the heart of our University, so we will work with them to find shared solutions to current and future challenges. We have already discussed the report and the issues it raises with elected student representatives in our halls of residence and our Students’ Union officers. We are continuing with those discussions and actions.

We will also address aspects of our planning and project management. The report acknowledges that the staff involved were motivated by the best intentions – to improve the safety of students in response to many complaints and serious concerns (particularly from students themselves) – while working under pressure. However, the inquiry reported that in addition to student engagement, further authority or approval should have been sought on what was a project with major implications.

We will follow this up with the relevant directorates and take appropriate actions. We will bring together a group of staff and student representatives to focus on improving student engagement and communications in our residences, and we will urgently address the issues of project approvals, management and execution.

We are grateful to our former Vice-President for Teaching Learning and Students, Professor Clive Agnew and former General Secretary of the Students’ Union, Fatima Abid for their detailed work on this incident.