100-level law and psychology students who aren’t arriving to lectures on time are having to watch lectures in an overflow room, online, or not at all.
PSYC121 is the worst affected course, with around 980 students being split between just two streams.
Those who don’t arrive in time to get a seat have the option of watching from an “overflow room,” where the lecture is streamed via webcam. These overflow rooms hold approximately 120 people.
First-year student Siobhan O’Connor told Salient that many of her lecturers had been advising students to arrive at class early to get a seat, something which isn’t always possible for those coming in on public transport or straight from another class. She added that some students had been “queuing up outside the lecture theatre 40 minutes before class is due to start to ensure a seat.”
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VUWSA President Jonathan Gee said that the advising of students to watch lectures from home was “pretty concerning,” adding “if you’re paying for a quality education at Vic you should expect one, and be able to engage with your lecturers and with your classmates.”
Some lecturers have started taking photos of students sitting on the steps to pass onto the university, calling for bigger theatres or more streams.
Students sitting on the steps in lecture theatres is a breach of the university’s fire safety conduct, which prohibits the obstruction of all stairwells as they are primary exit routes.
When asked for a response, a Victoria University spokesperson told Salient, “PSYC121 is a popular course and to accommodate all students, those enrolled have been allocated one of two streams. This year many students are not attending their allocated stream, preferring the earlier one and putting additional pressure on the room in this stream. We are running an additional overflow room to help.”
It was further noted that LAWS121 is not oversubscribed, and if students attend their allocated stream there will be enough seats for everyone.
The university said it does not condone the overcrowding of lecture theatres, and recommends that students attend their allocated stream to prevent such situations from continuing.