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SRC students up in arms as social space cut off over truancy claims!

The coffee dock – a vital social space for students and staff alike – was closed on Monday, though SRC say it is to re-open!

Students at the Southern Regional College in Armagh have claimed the coffee dock on campus has been closed as a punishment against some students skipping classes.

A number of disgruntled A-Level students visited the Armagh I office on Monday afternoon, claiming they were being punished for the actions of a minority.

They believed that the space was closed temporarily, to combat truancy amongst the student base, something which they were keen to stress they were not involved in.

The coffee dock was closed on Monday afternoon

One student told us they were informed of the closure without warning on Monday morning. However, they have claimed the coffee dock is to re-open – on reduced hours – later in the week.

“Due to others skipping classes we all have to suffer. It’s the only place on campus we can get free water. There are hours sometimes between classes and there is nowhere else for us to go,” he said.

Another claimed they were asked to leave the area that morning.

The coffee dock is an on-campus facility used by students and staff alike. If it were to be closed, students would have one less area to socialise, with some arguing the canteen facilities are inadequate.

As of Monday afternoon, the area was inaccessible, with a sign notifying students that the area effectively out of bounds.

We reached out to SRC for clarity, who assured us that the coffee dock will not be closing.

We then asked the college if the dock was closed on Monday for the reason the students were claiming, and if it is due to re-open on Wednesday at reduced hours.

A spokesperson for the SRC told us:

“Catering services at Southern Regional College are operated through an external agency and Monday’s closure of the coffee dock at Armagh campus was due to staffing shortages with this supplier. We have been informed that they will be able to reopen on Wednesday 21 February. Coffee dock opening hours have been amended slightly to suit students’ class times, being available from 8am until the start of first class at 9.30am and then again for an hour and a half over lunchtime.”

Following this response, we reached out to the students again, who told us the previous opening times were from 9:30am right through to 2pm or 3pm in the afternoon.

The group of young people we spoke to were passionate in their cause, fearing the worst around what they regarded as an essential space for downtime amid the hustle and bustle of college life.

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