FILM Studies lecturer, Dr Harvey O’Brien resigned as Head of the subject last week, in protest to repeated electrical faults in a lecture room in the Newman Building. Despite his resignation, students have been reassured that teaching will continue as normal.
Head of English, Drama and Film, Prof. Nicholas Daly has written to students to inform them that their degrees will not be tainted by Dr O’Brien’s resignation, stating that he will “do everything in [my] power to ensure there is no disruption to their degree programme”.
Dr O’Brien’s resignation follows technical problems encountered in E114, a lecture room used by Film Studies students. Prof. Daly acknowledged that there has been “ongoing sound problems… (and) they had an electrical short during the week, which was obviously more pressing”.
The College of Arts and Celtic Studies has been criticised for not releasing funds for E114 to be renovated over the summer break, when the larger theatres in the Newman Building were repaired.
Prof. Daly agreed that the room is “heavily used”, however, he stated that the School of English, Drama and Film “don’t have that much money and we have a lot of upgrading. The committee in charge of upgrading the Newman Building had to prioritise”. Prof. Daly had hoped that E114 would be upgraded, however he believes that this was of “a pretty minimal variety”.
Stressing that “it’s the room rather than the film programme which is the problem”, Prof.Daly said he aims to secure funding to upgrade E114, or discuss moving the “bulk of the teaching elsewhere”.
Describing himelf as “being optimistic” in stating that there won’t be anymore technical difficulties in the theatre, Prof. Daly said that if more do occur, the school will have to “consider a variety of options, including trying to find timetablable space in other lecture theatres”.
Arguing that “E114 is looming a little too large in people’s ideas of film studies; it’s a single lecture theatre”, Prof. Daly stated that E114 “is not the only space used by Film Studies and if there are problems, we’ll work around that and find other space”.
Prof. Daly stressed that the school “take Film Studies very seriously as a subject”, adding that “until such time that E114 is a good as the Newman theatres, (he thinks he) will be arguing” for the use of the Jefferson Clinton auditorium.
Stating that students will not suffer over the coming weeks, Prof. Daly commented that “Dr O’Brien has organised everything for the 2008-2009 academic year… and it’ll keep us in good steed until January”, when a new Head of Film Studies will begin.