Hundreds of students made their way to Kingston campuses on Thursday to find their lectures and seminars had been cancelled.
The following announcement appeared on Kingston University’s home page and its telephone information line at around 6am.
“Kingston University is closed today. Teaching and other activities are cancelled. Staff and students are not expected to attend today.”
However no email notification was circulated and many students and lecturers only found out after braving the cold weather and icy conditions.
Sobit Thapa, an aerospace engineering student was frustrated by the news. He said: “I found out when I got here, I think they should have sent an email round, I’ve got a lot of assignments. I think it’s a bit of a waste of students’ time and money.”
Mr Thapa travelled 25 miles from Farnborough and arrived around midday. He added: “The train was delayed, but I started my journey one hour earlier than my normal time, then I find out it’s closed. It’s kind of ridiculous, there’s not even much snow.”
Dr Will Brooker, Director of Research for Film Studies at Kingston, agreed. He said: “I don’t see that the conditions are very different from yesterday or the day before.”
Dr Brooker was also critical of the university’s handling of the closure. “If I was in charge of everything I would have emailed everyone. Apparently there’s a university hotline but I wasn’t aware of that and I’ve never had cause to phone it in the five and a half years I’ve been here.”
He went on to point out the challenge faced by lecturers and students:
“I do also wonder if it’s going to be an awful lot of trouble rearranging everything that’s cancelled today, it could be more trouble than it would have been to just open.
“I think now that students see themselves more as paying customers, it raises an issue if they feel they’re not getting value for money for the classes they pay to go to.”
Penrhyn Road’s LRC was the only facility to remain open. Sue Robertson, Customer Services Manager at Penrhyn Road’s LRC said:
“We always put the students first. I am delighted to see so many students have come in despite the weather, so we are clearly needed.”
On her way to the LRC was Andrea Gempp, a Real Estate Management student. Ms Gempp said: “I didn’t know that the university was closed and I was on the bus for 2 hours and now they tell me the university is closed today.
“I can’t understand it because there’s not much snow out there. I’m from Germany, which is used to much more snow. Normally there are no closures, they try to keep a normal system running.”
Mr Thapa was also confused by the sudden decision:
“If I’ve managed to be here everyone else should be able to. It seems to be a concept now that whenever there’s snow everything just closes.”
The decision to close was made by Graham Bulpitt, the duty manager at the time, in conjunction with health and safety and KUSCO. A review of the situation is expected at 4pm and an announcement should follow.
Weather forecasts predict that the snow will end by the early evening.
For up to date information on the status of the closure visit www.kingston.ac.uk or call 0844 2096642