As you may have seen in a certain inferior publication, or heard someone complaining bitterly, Exeter’s new quad, the Cohen Quad, has suffered yet another setback. Originally set to be ready by the start of Michaelmas, the date was initially pushed back to the 31st of October, until the contractors decided it might be a good idea to state, just a few days before this, that it would not be possible, something that was obvious to anyone who simply walked past the construction in Jericho. Students had initially been made comfortable at the Jury’s Inn hotel. However, since the extended deadline was missed, it seems that many people will have to move out. VERSA spoke with two students, both of whom were upset with the situation. One thought that this could have been avoided if the problems had been anticipated competently by either the contractors or the college, so rooms could have been booked in advance. Students are being moved to other hotels, or to other colleges, though some 38 people will need to move in and out of Jury’s Inn at least once.
While all may have been sorted out, it is certainly not to everyone’s satisfaction. One student, who would prefer not to be named, told VERSA that the college had failed in its duty to inform the student body, saying “because it wasn’t communicated directly from college, there were rumours going round, like, thinking about what you might have to do in the next few weeks, with moving in and out; it was just a bit too much.” While Exeter anticipates that the quad will be finished for next term, this can be little reassurance for the doubtful ear, as students have not even been told why the construction is taking so long.
The students VERSA talked to suggested that the contractors were more at fault for the delays than Exeter itself, though the college could have put more pressure on them to finish during the summer, and the problems could have been anticipated.
Concerns have also been raised about student welfare. In a term where many third-year students have coursework to think about, the pressure of moving out could hardly come at a worse time. Students have “been very inefficient with their work” and, disturbingly, “having breakdowns”. While “the college is really doing its best”, VERSA wonders whether its best is good enough for its already pressured students. Indeed, they feel let down by the college, saying “we made an agreement with college that the rooms would be ready when we did the signings.”
In other building news, we hear that in America, the ‘greatest builder’ has just landed a job to put up some walls. Maybe he could come and give Exeter a hand…