PRESS RELEASE - Lancaster to excel in Postgraduate Representation, says NPC

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National Postgraduate Committee responds to Lancaster Students vote for Sabbatical representation

'The National Postgraduate Committee is pleased to learn that the students of Lancaster University have voted to create a sabbatical position to represent the postgraduate students of the university. Postgraduate representation is an important issue for the NPC. Student unions have traditionally focussed upon the age group 18-22 and have, whether intentionally or not, provided services and activities that are not geared to mature, part time and postgraduate students. Postgraduates generate more income per student than undergraduates and are more likely to be mature or international students and consequently deserve better recognition for their contribution to university life.

The National Postgraduate Committee believes that efforts to increase postgraduate representation in the University of Lancaster and indeed all universities nationally should be encouraged.

As William Johnston, General Secretary of the Lancaster University Union stated to the NPC earlier today:

Following last week's elections, it is safe to say that the students of Lancaster University are overwhelmingly in support of a postgraduate sabbatical officer post being created with 88% voting in favour of the creation. Unfortunately the less well discussed and understood question, that of postgraduate faculty reps, only got 79% agreement. Due to less excitement and hype around this year's sabbatical elections, turn out was a little lower and the requirement that at least 1500 people vote in favour meant that this question fell.

He was supported by Phoebe Rowell, Education and Welfare Officer of the University of Lancaster:

Postgraduates make up 25% of the population here at Lancaster and we are glad that both undergraduate and postgraduate students have supported the creation of a postgraduate sabbatical officer. Postgraduates do not have the time to constantly campaign for themselves on specific issues and so I believe a full time officer for postgraduates is the most constructive way to ensure that the University continues to provide the best postgraduate experience.

Andre Oboler, former Postgrad Officer in the union and currently the student observer on the QAA Board added, "In the future it will all be about the student experience, enhancing the postgraduate experience will be a definite boost for a research led university like Lancaster."

National Postgraduate Committee general secretary Simon Felton wishes Lancaster well but notes that there is still a long way to go before postgraduate representation is treated with the respect it deserves by the student bodies on campuses across the United Kingdom. Representation will be one of the issues address at our annual conference in Birmingham from 3- 6 August and as the main organisation representing the needs of postgraduate students in the UK, the NPC will continue to endeavour to create a level playing field for postgraduate students in universities across the UK.'

Notes to Editors:
For more information, or to speak to the NPC, please contact Simon Felton, General Secretary on 0121 251 2499 or email s.felton@bugs.bham.ac.uk or Duncan Connors, Communications Officer on 07787561133 or email duncanconnors@hotmail.com

The National Postgraduate Committee (NPC) is a charity that represents the interests of over 500,000 postgraduate students in the UK. NPC is committed to enhancing and the improving the lives and experiences of postgraduate students in the UK, ensuring their voices are heard and effectively represented.