Rosie Kyrke-Smith 104

Durham Students' Union Opening Hours

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NB: We are happy to announce that the Union have now repealed their decision regarding opening hours on Sunday evenings so we will be able to deliver a full live schedule until 11pm. Thank you very much to everyone who signed our petition; Purple Radio are delighted with this decision, which reaffirms that the needs of student societies are the Union's number one priority. We couldn't have made this happen without you - thank you.

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In October 2012 the Durham Students’ Union cut their opening hours. They moved their closing time from midnight to 11pm and from midnight to 6pm on Saturdays. Although Sunday evenings were extended, the changes resulted in an overall loss of broadcasting hours for Purple Radio. This has drastically reduced the number of live shows available to students, lessening the extent to which they can get involved in a schedule that is consistently oversubscribed. Although we were unhappy with this decision (which was originally supposed to be temporary during refurbishment work), we accepted it graciously and worked our schedule around it.

Purple Radio has always endeavoured to support the work of the Union, broadcasting live from their events and promoting their campaigns. We make a particular effort to engage with all students of the university, as demonstrated by our attendance and live broadcasting from both the Union Fair in Durham and Queen’s Campus Freshers’ Fair. We are one of the largest societies, with over 200 members signed up - via the new Durham SU web system.

In January 2014 we were broadcasting from the Re-Union Fair and attracting further interest from students when we were informed by a member of Union staff that the Union would now be closing at 6pm on Sunday evenings. Again, this prevents Purple Radio from broadcasting live beyond this time. Durham Students' Union claimed to have consulted the other two societies who previously used the building on Sunday evenings, but failed to consider Purple Radio. By the time Purple were told this, the executive committee had already worked on new themed specialist music nights, one of which was Sunday, and show applications for the term had already opened. Sunday nights in first term had the highest listening figures of any evening, and we have a sponsorship agreement for one particular show that night.

We have appealed against the Union’s decision, on the grounds that this decision has been business-orientated as the Union are looking to save money rather than think of the students for whom they are meant to provide opportunities. The Students’ Union is a registered charity, with the slogan ‘enabling students’ – a statement that has been proven wrong.

The result of the appeal was the extension of Sunday opening times to 8pm, but this still prevents three live shows from broadcasting. The three hours removed received up to 152 listeners each week last term, demonstrating a large student engagement.

Purple Radio has faced numerous setbacks in the past year because of decisions made by the SU: the refusal to distribute publicity materials; the failure to send advertising invoices and a total of £0 funding for the entire year to give just a few examples. Furthermore, they are unable to play Purple Radio in the Union building due to a contract they agreed with ‘Sub TV’ instead. We are therefore, understandably, unhappy and aggravated by this new decision.

We the undersigned call on the Durham Students’ Union to keep the Union building (Dunelm House) open until 11pm on Sunday nights during term time, so that Purple Radio can continue to broadcast live as it has done in the past.

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