UCD has pledged to pursue a project forcing two schools within the College of Arts & Human Sciences to swap office space, despite significant staff complaints at the proposal.
A spokesperson for UCD said that staff in the School of English, Drama & Film Studies would be relocated to the premises currently occupied by the School of Languages and Literatures this summer, as part of an ongoing project “to provide appropriate space for the delivery of programmes.”
The assertion comes only days after the Director of the Newman Regeneration Project, Cliona de Bhaldraithe Marsh, assured staff in both schools that the relocation plans had been shelved for the forseeable future.
Academics from both schools held a staff meeting during the mid-term break to discuss the matter, to which both schools have significant objections.
The relocation undertakings had been intended to collate the office space currently occupied by the School of English, Drama & Film Studies which has become scattered across the Belfield and Blackrock campuses as a result of the growth of student numbers and the gradual academic restructuring undergone in UCD in recent years.
The intended co-location of the school’s premises, however, would have decentralised the School of Languages and Literatures by redistributing all but one of its own departments across the Newman Building, from their current home on the fourth floor of the D Block to the second floor of the J Block on the other side of the Arts complex.
One staff member of the School of Languages and Literatures said that staff in their school were “not happy in the slightest. Part of the reason is that we don’t want to move – you get attached to your office if you’ve been in it for a few decades – but the main reason was that the proposed co-location of the School of English was apparently to be brought by splitting up the School of Languages and Literatures into two different locations.”
The academic added that when UCD first informed staff members of the proposed reallocation of their office space, “many of us were opposed because we felt we had departments with strong identities, and that they were all going to be amalgamated into this thing that didn’t really have a reason to be.”
This dissatisfaction was echoed by Professor Alan Fletcher of the School of English, Drama & Film Studies who conceded that while there was a small practical benefit in the co-location of his School, the benefit was insufficient to merit swapping the offices of the two Schools.