At the end of December the Royal College of Science Union thought they had an agreement for use of the old print shop on the walkway by EEE. Having been in two "broom cupboards" - one in the SAF and one in Blackett - since the start of the year, they had been looking for one single office to work from.
ICU President John Collins and Dr Roy Burns had been working with estates to find an acceptable location, with two being offered: a "dingy" cleaner's store cupboard in 10 Prince's Gate and the old print shop opposite the climbing wall off the walkway. On viewing both locations the 10 Prince's Gate option was deemed much less desirable, as a result of its poor size, dingy conditions, out-of-the-way location and lack of disabled access.
With a clear preference for the print shop expressed, they received an email stating "I shall inform you when the legal issues for the transfer of the space are finalised so that you can start moving your equipment", which was taken to be an agreement.
Yesterday they received an email stating that the "Space Executive" had considered the request, but had allocated them the basement store room instead. The print office had gone to ICT media services, who seem to be looking to expand their external client base. The needs of a faculty union representing over 4,000 students seem to be secondary to this exercise.
The RCSU and supporters of the print room option are understandably upset, as plans to move offices are now on hold. ICU President John Collins wrote the following in an email: "It is simply pointless having an RCSU Office in Princes Gardens as it is too far away from any academic (natural sciences) department." The room and access route to it have also been described as in "bad condition".
Richard Fautley, RCSU Vice President (Activities), described the entire RCSU as "furious at the descision, and the underhand way it has been conducted and communicated to us".
An online petition against the decision is available.