The Manchester School of Architecture: a deceitful, profit-driven organisation.


You must have been attracted to the very high position of the Manchester School of Architecture in the recent years' QS rankings, where it is placed amongst the world's top 10 along with the Bartlett or TU Delft.

Having attended the school I can reveal to you that these rankings are doctored. The quality of the education at the MSA is nowhere near the world top 10 and I will elaborate:

The course is presented as being jointly run by the University of Manchester and MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University). This is misleading as the course is entirely run by MMU and has very little affiliation to the well-reputed University of Manchester. Instead, MMU is an ex-polytechnic (the equivalent of a US community college) with low educational standards, huge student numbers and a very aggressive marketing agenda.

The Manchester School of Architecture is essentially a degree mill that admits unusually large numbers of students who are treated as cash cows to fund what is essentially a scam operation.

Upon attending the school one will quickly realise that there is an abnormally large concentration of international students, who are given preference for admission as they pay over £15000 in fees. These students are admitted through foreign agencies that secure a fee for placing the student at a UK university. Most of these students lack academic skills or have a very poor command of the English language to the point that it is questionable whether they can really engage with the course material. This is well-known to the faculty who conveniently choose to cover it up. As a matter of fact, I have witnessed essays with incomprehensible writing, inexistent argument or complete lack of referencing being marked above 60%.

The school's extremely greedy admission tactics have now created a problem of overcapacity where the year cohort cannot fit in a single lecture theatre and tutorial group numbers exceed 30 people, minimising tutorial time. This affects teaching quality severely, with students struggling to get more than 15' of contact time per week.

Rather than improving the quality of teaching, a big portion of the university's money goes towards purchasing fancy computers every 2 years (everyone needs a Mac in order to conduct their research) or constructing luxurious student accommodation.

The thematic research groups, so called ateliers, are poor imitations of AA or TU Delft studios, taught by academics with very little credibility or narrow vision and experience. These are mostly people who were unsuccessful in professional practice, or lost their jobs during the past recession and therefore found a safe place in the protective womb of academia. The ones with professional experience, have mostly worked in Manchester based offices doing public sector work. 

It is also a well-known fact among the faculty that the school employs some of the worst performing graduates as junior tutors or PhD candidates, as these are unable to find a transition into practice. These people teach 1st and 2nd year, then are promoted to lecturers, senior lecturers etc. Essentially the school recycles its student output in a cyclical, garbage-in garbage-out strategy.

The school extensively practises grade inflation with tutors instructed to mark up graduating students, in order to improve the overall classification statistics of the university. It is practically very difficult to fail or graduate with anything less than a 2:1. Also, the threshold for achieving a first-class degree has been lowered to 68%.

The research and teaching focus of the school involve a mishmash of urban planning and landscape architecture with social sustainability and computation. History is skimmed through in first year, whereas theory is hardly covered and generally approached in an studio-integrated process that only allows a very shallow approach in student projects. Teaching of construction, structures or environmental design is superficial, which is no surprise since most of the faculty is comprised by non-practitioners. Also, the same lecture content is often recycled across different year groups, with MArch students getting for example identical lectures to BA year 2 or 3.

The course involves no exams and minimal submission of coursework, where 3 assignments per semester constitute the entire grade for the year.

The course is essentially an education into digital media and graphic design, producing unemployable graduates who often quit the architecture field as easily as they have joined it. The outstanding majority of BA graduates of the MSA chooses to continue their Masters at other schools or other fields. As a result, the MArch programme admits more graduates from second-tier schools like Northumbria, Liverpool and Huddersfield in order to fill up the quota. The standards are eventually lowered to allow such students to graduate.

The Manchester School of Architecture can in no way compare to US Ivy League schools, or European design powerhouses like the Bartlett and TU Delft, as it significantly lacks the characteristics of a high quality academic institution. Instead, the school has established a successful business model, scamming its students out of their money and offering back very little value. The way that the school achieves a top position in the QS rankings is a result of marketing tactics and not of its academic quality. The greatest majority of students are aware of this and are disgusted by the fact that they have been misled into attending this school.

In conclusion, the Manchester School of Architecture is essentially a scam; an institution that operates using dishonest tactics, a typical expression of the commercialisation of UK higher education and the country's ethical and cultural decline. 

Apr 25, 20 1:21 pm
Non Sequitur

if it’s any consolation, I’ve never heard of this school. Also important, rankings are bullshit anyways.  

Apr 25, 20 1:34 pm  · 
2  · 

some rankings are more bullshit than others , and when read knowledgeably they can definitely have some use. the DI rankings use a methodology that is clearly flawed, but their results have an impact on the quality of each year's applicant pool (not to mention faculty searches, etc), and attending a school with stronger students makes for a more rigorous experience. 

QS is obviously complete bullshit; I think you'd have a tough time finding anyone who honestly believes Nanyang Technological University (#11) is academically superior or even in the same ballpark as Princeton, Cornell, Penn, Yale, or Columbia (#13, 14, 15, 17, and 18).

Apr 27, 20 9:25 am  · 
Non Sequitur

Please, Singapore over Princeton any day of the week. /s. I know what you mean tho.

Apr 27, 20 9:33 am  · 
1  ·  1

I don't think this student has had the chance of attending any of these other high caliber schools they mention. Or they would have known that theory, construction and sustainable design are treated very similarly across the board in Architecture schools. While I understand where some of these frustrations come from, I don't think that such a wide generalization is fair to a number of the MSA staff who do really amazing work and dedicate their life to teaching at this school. This is coming from someone who's studied and taught across 6 medium to high ranking Universities across Europe and the US. 

Apr 26, 20 12:57 pm  · 
 ·  1
Non Sequitur

this is just the POV of one disgruntled student. He/She complained in an earlier thread this Archinect was censuring their posts for PR reasons.

Apr 26, 20 1:05 pm  · 

@ Dkourri, I am afraid that the standards at the said school are actually very low and this is something that a large portion of the MSA students are aware of. I understand that you work in academia and therefore feel the need to cover for your fellow colleagues, especially given that you have a financial interest in this. However, you fail to address any of the very significant issues I detailed above but instead resort in quoting your experience, in an effort to brush off the allegations. Trying to cover up a deceitful agenda, is deceitful in itself and representative really of the quality of the institution where you are employed.

Apr 30, 20 6:42 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

Oh boy. The thin foil is thick with this one.

Apr 30, 20 7:20 pm  · 

This thread's purpose is to voice the documented concerns of multiple students of the school. Since you mentioned earlier that you don't have any experience or knowledge of this school, it would be best if you refrain from this type of trolling.

Apr 30, 20 7:34 pm  · 

I'm not brushing off the allegations, I'm doing a comparison with other institutions that teach architecture, which come from personal experience. This is most certainly not about a financial interest, not all academics belong to "that group over there". There's dozens of academics at the MSA, from both schools and they all come with different opinions, agendas, pro or against management, etc. I'm sure you understand that if you worked for a company, you wouldn't go online bashing them, unless you wanted to get fired, which is not a wise thing to do in the current crisis.

Apr 30, 20 7:58 pm  · 
 ·  1

I would also like to ask where you get your information from, about the level of the school? How do you make this conclusion?

Apr 30, 20 7:59 pm  · 

There's also a place and a time and an official process to fully explore such allegations, which I'm sure you understand.

Apr 30, 20 8:03 pm  · 

Dear Ms Kourri, 

The concerns presented in this thread are drawn from personal experiences of various people which have been documented during a long term affiliation with the Manchester School of Architecture. This has been a longer period than your involvement at the school. 

I understand that in your last post you are referring to legal action. It is not clear how this message should be perceived though, as threatening a whistleblower with legal action is not usually effective. On the other hand, your attention should be drawn to a legal case which was filed against the MSA within the past 2 years by some of the school's students. The legal case addresses issues in line with those described above, in regards to low standards of education provided by the school. 

The purpose of this thread is to question whether the MSA should be regarded as a top 10 world school, which is a big selling point in its marketing agenda. In the experience of many people, this is a misrepresentation which creates issues.

May 1, 20 4:51 pm  · 

I'm afraid you have greatly misinterpreted my response. I have not, in any way, threatened with legal action. I merely suggested that any student who has an issue with the institution should follow the appropriate legal channels.

May 1, 20 5:06 pm  · 

There is also no way you can possibly know how long my involvement with the MSA has been, as this has not been posted anywhere and can therefore only be speculation. While I fully respect the student's concerns, my question as to how one can make a comparison, if they don't have experience from other architectural institutions has not been addressed.

May 1, 20 5:10 pm  · 

This student is not helping him or herself at all. There was a good argument against this particular school in the original post but the lashing out in posts since only undermined his or her credibility.

May 1, 20 5:18 pm  · 
1  · 

Demetra, I know that you have been a Phd candidate at the school since 2017. My involvement has been longer and in various roles. Also, I am not a student anymore and I have had experience of other schools. 

You have attempted to defend your argument based on your experience at 6 highly-ranked schools as you quoted above. From your CV found on the university's website, it can be seen that you have only been affiliated with 4 schools rather than 6, contrary to what you have stated. These schools include Birmigham City University (an ex-polytechic similar to MMU) and the University of Nicosia which is largely unknown. 

These are not highly ranked schools. 

If the MSA is indeed amongst the world top 10, the school's profile shall then be compared against top world schools to establish the validity of these claims. Your experience at the above mentioned schools doesn't constitute a relevant reference, as these schools are not global education leaders. 

As I mentioned above, there is already an ongoing legal case against the school. When a school is being sued by its students, this signifies that standards are low and definetely not representative of a globally leading institution. Personally and unlike these students, I don't have a financial interest in suing the school. The case is that there are a lot of students on social media asking for information about schools. The purpose of this thread is therefore to help prospective students avoid getting deceived by the school's marketing tactic, like many already have. 

Further details regarding degree classifications, exam standards, RIBA validating boards, will be published in due course to reinforce the original arguments.

May 1, 20 6:18 pm  · 

I'm sorry that you felt the need to Google my credentials and use your findings in order to delegitimize my position. As I already said, my affiliation to the university is not posted online and my CV online is not complete. As I already mentioned, 6 universities, both middle and high ranking. Among those is Parsons, the 2nd highest raking design school in the world.

May 1, 20 6:30 pm  · 

It doesn't say much about your character.

May 1, 20 6:30 pm  · 

parsons being #2 in anything should be a big red flag for these rankings. it’s *maybe* the fourth best design school in nyc.

May 1, 20 7:06 pm  · 

None of the top schools gives a rats ass about rankings. Neither do employers.

May 1, 20 7:28 pm  · 
1  · 

and your point is...?

May 1, 20 7:33 pm  · 

Such nice and intelligent argumentations. Does this generation know anything else than to hide behind Google searches and internet aliases and use half baked information they find online to discredit others? A suggestion for your future, learn how to form an argument if you want anyone to take you seriously.

May 1, 20 9:53 pm  · 


if you think QS rankings aren't "half baked" you aren't paying any attention at all

May 2, 20 2:39 pm  · 

I'd like to see more statistics and information (Employment data, graduate income, student/faculty work, assignment briefs, etc) from the OP to bolster his/her case. This would help elevate the complaint beyond the anecdotal. The proliferation of for-profit education - inflated by huge numbers of international students - has indeed led to a rash of sub-par schooling in 'soft' subjects. Rubbish ranking systems only helps to hoodwink misinformed students and parents.

Now whether or not there is deceit and malice in their marketing is a trickier question. The Art Institute, a chain of art schools in the US, was recently sued by students and alumni after it went bust - partly for fraud. The OP can look up that lawsuit to see how the case was built by the plaintiffs.

I'm of the view that the fancy theory stuff is best left to those brand name schools which can afford to waste time on academic shannanigans thanks to their alumni recruitment and reputation. Otherwise schools are best advised to teach building science and construction techniques first before allowing students to run amok with the weird and wonderful.

Apr 30, 20 7:46 pm  · 

I cannot agree more. I graduated a couple years ago and the tutors are appalling. This has nothing to do with how good the students are - I know because some lucky ones such as myself and others have managed to go on to better schools in Europe (Bartlett/AA/Delft) but it was no thanks to MSA. Job hunting was so tough after graduating from MSA and that one person in my cohort worked in a fast-food joint for a while before settling for a mid-sized soulless firm in a small town.

FYI the saturation of architecture graduates in the UK is so high that people at much better schools also struggle but Manchester graduates' outputs across the board are NOWHERE good enough to compete with others - on EITHER the theoretical realm or the technical (I learned more reading a recommended First Year technical book on the reading list of a good uni than my entire 3 years at Manchester lol). For what it's worth when it comes to getting jobs in the UK it is by far much better to go to a top school (even if it's #TheoryOverTechnicality) than it is to go to a "technically inclined" school.

The fact that the UK government has engineered their educational institutions to become a business model means that past students who have spent so much money on it should be allowed to review their protocols and practices, just like any other consumer. People who didn't go to this school shouldn't bother with saying anything. This is clearly a disclaimer for prospective students and they deserve to know (I know I would have chosen otherwise if I was made aware of how sh*t they would be). And if they were any good there would a queue of ex-students defending them.

Good on you OP for sharing.

May 9, 20 9:26 am  · 

Having read this post about MSA, along with several other similar ex-student reviews about the university, I can confirm that they are all true. I was naive to disregard them before starting my MArch at MSA this September, but unfortunately the quality of education and course structure is nowhere near top 10 in the world. The course is entirely run by MMU with almost no input from UoM, which is incredibly misleading to prospective students who are tricked into believing that they will receive teaching from a highly-ranked Russell Group university. The module description isn’t clear on the website, in terms of explaining what you’ll be taught and how you’re assessed. They are in fact a mashup of the assessment requirements which RIBA sets out for Part 2 affiliation within their ‘ateliers’, which differs greatly from a typical university module selection. The majority of assessment marks are from group work projects with the dissertation the only individually assessed module. After studying for 6 weeks at MSA, I had enough of the course, knowing what was to come for the rest of the MArch. They couldn’t care less when I asked to leave the university and never asked for my reasoning. Thankfully I got a last-minute transfer to the university where I completed my undergraduate degree. AVOID MSA!

Nov 8, 20 6:20 pm  · 

Name a school today anywhere in the World for any profession that is not "profit-driven organisation".

Their aim is to sign up as many students as they can get a hold of. Profit is No. 1 word in schools. To think any other way is gross naivety.

Nov 11, 20 10:36 am  · 

Pretty rich to generalise all international students as people without command of the english language and lacking academic skills. I think all that's happened here is you were exposed to an environment you weren't used it. 

Jan 22, 21 6:52 am  · 

The OP's comments on international students really made me question their whole take. It would probably be more beneficial to international students if the school ensured they had the language ability to fully engage in coursework, but the level of skill and work ethic it takes to do university in your second or third language isn't something to take lightly.

Apr 13, 21 3:21 pm  · 

on the off chance that it's any reassurance, I've never known about this school. Additionally significant, rankings are horse crap in any case.

Feb 3, 21 12:27 pm  · 

I thought this was about Sciarc LOL

Feb 3, 21 1:12 pm  · 

Take it from me, and my practical experience in life!  I have a 4-year Bachelors Degree from FIU, in Architecture, and 10 years of building construction experience. I worked with tools and my hands (hands-on) from the foundation up to the roof for my stepfather's construction business. 

Also, I have 10 years as an Autocad draftsman for Architects.  I lost my desire to become an Architect with my past experiences working for them.

Architecture is a slippery slope, and will only lead you to no-where.  Take either "Healthcare or Technologies", this is where a good-paying stable job is at.  I don't know how Architecture is still apart of the curriculum in colleges since it isn't a good paying and stable profession any longer.

Most Architects do not want to build something for themselves, most cannot even swing a hammer, and will try to get you to do it for them.

The reason why I got into Architecture was to improve my life, and I liked to draw and be creative with design, and even get back to building something from time to time.  After college, I never was able to design again, I only worked for 10 years on AutoCAD with working drawings, and that's what most 90% of you will be doing after graduating. 

Most Architects don't even know how to build anything for themselves, or even take interest in you, and can only do what the owners will ask them to do.  If you have a better idea as an Architect, and the owner has another, then what?  Don't forget the confusing building department, which is absurd being that you have to know what they want (creativity?) as well.

Optimistically, I'm not knocking all Architects, and hopefully, there might be about 10% left.  Although, these are the ones I never worked with, and employment has always been, and is still very hard to find!

Most of these Architects will use naive people/kids straight out of college to complete their work (most cannot operate AutoCAD) for them for only one year, and thinking nothing at all about their futures. 

Why aren't there "Unions" to protect us workers from these predatorial Architectural practices?

I hope I can help at least one person with this, and good luck with your future!

Feb 11, 21 4:31 pm  · 
 ·  2

Hello, I received offers from Cardiff, Newcastle and Manchester. Which one would you recommend selecting for a firm choice for an undergraduate programme?  Now, after reading your review on MSA I'm very nervous and unsure about it.

Mar 29, 21 11:05 pm  · 

Yes, we definitely need "unions" to control these deceitful employers, and business people, from taking advantage of the middle class hard working people!

Apr 15, 21 1:26 pm  · 

The U.S. Department of State has strongly issued the highest level: 

DO NOT TRAVEL ADVISORY to the United Kingdom.

April 20, 2021

United Kingdom - Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel to the United Kingdom due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution due to terrorism.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the United Kingdom due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into the United Kingdom. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in the United Kingdom. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

There is also a risk of isolated violence by dissident groups in Northern Ireland, focused primarily on police and military targets.

Apr 20, 21 7:10 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

don't forget bears.

Apr 20, 21 8:27 pm  · 

lool I had to look this up because I thought you were bullshitting

Apr 21, 21 5:21 am  · 

This is a very serious issue. It's not a joke.

Apr 21, 21 12:43 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

I'm not joking. A bear will fuck up your day very quickly.

Apr 21, 21 12:53 pm  · 
2  ·

I don't think you understand. The idea that US citizens would be scared of coming to the UK because of covid and terrorism is hilarious to me. please, feel free to stay away ahahaha idc

Apr 21, 21 1:11 pm  · 

Take it as you like. The US Government has heeded warnings.

Apr 21, 21 1:43 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

Never forget.

Apr 21, 21 1:56 pm  · 
1  · 

Interesting read. I am an alumni from MSA, but I studied there over 6 years ago before we all started seeing them in global ranks. I wouldn't call it a scam, because plenty of graduates from MSA have become practicing architects.

I wouldn't know how to compare it to other universities since I didn't study at any others, but I would point out some thoughts: 

- Some tutors are practicing architects/registered architects and I would recommend the studios these tutors lead. There are the odd few studios that churn out good graduates. Unfortunately I regret the studios I chose.

- Some studios are definitely better taught than others. But you will find that a lot is self taught work and self developed. Some tutors just give very subjective unuseful comments, some more practical and insightful. The hard work done is really by the students themselves.

- Their 6th Year Professional Studies module I found very good as the lectures were taught by some examiners/registered architects and was a good basic fundamental module to introducing Part 3 examination topics. Technical lecture in undergraduate are so so, often overlooked but important knowledge for later on in life.

- Back when I graduated, it was difficult to find a job. It took a number of months to land on one. But that year, the employment rate for MSA graduates was pretty high. 

- Their ranking may have been based full on the research department which sits under UofM. Those researchers do very well and have been key to improving building regulations guidance over the years. And a number of them become your supervisor for your dissertation.

- Yes there are a lot of international students. Most universities welcome internationals. International fees are what cover tutor/lecturer fees and running/improvement of the buildings. That's the only way? 

Jun 1, 21 9:57 am  · 

The UCL Bartlett School of Architecture and Environment: a deceitful, profit-driven organisation.

I STRONGLY DO NOT RECOMMEND attending the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture and School of Environment, Energy & Resources Environmental Design and Engineering. 

Beware of misleading and the lack of information disclosure on UCL’s website subject to false advertisement. UCL is being run as a business, not as a university. UCL does not answer any graduate phone calls. It is a business scam and a typical UK university degree mill churning out as many students as possible in a desperate attempt for financial gain. The programme was so bad that several people dropped out. Avoid being misled and making a big mistake. Do not waste money and go through the hassle of applying for a UK student visa and be treated like a “criminal”. 

Over the number of years, the programme doubled and tripled the number of international students to increase revenue because they pay significantly higher fees. There were approximately 70-75 students in the programme that consisted of 85-90% international students in the age range 20-24. Out of this percentage, 70-75% were students all from China, 10-15% EU, 3% UK. English was not the primary language spoken among students. The university even stopped publishing previous class photos and students’ names and dissertations on the programme’s website. 

The programme supervisor had announced to the whole cohort that they had “over-recruited” students; the number of admitted students was based on how many people could fit into the lecture halls. The university desperately recruited and crammed as many students as possible into the programme for financial gain. Many lectures were joined by other students from other programmes because of cost effective reasons to hire less lecturers. Even some classes were not taught by a live instructor, but offered through pre-recorded videos. Coursework was extremely convoluted and marking schemes were ridiculously subjective. Don’t expect help from instructors or tutors because they are not willing since it’s considered a form of favourable bias. Expect independent study to figure everything out on your own. 

The director/lecturer was an alumnus of the program, but clearly unprofessionally and unqualified to lead and manage the program. The director was neither licensed as an architect or engineer, but a “building scientist”, in other words only qualified as an academic researcher. The director was a very awkward, creepy, obsequious, armchair theorist with only 1-2 years of entry level professional working experience who made many questionable decisions and even didn’t know how to answer questions due to a lack of knowledge and experience. The director even admitted that he didn’t know what he was doing and constantly harassed students for feedback to help him run the programme. The university had hired an incompetent and inexperienced babysitter simply because he was cheap labor. 

Existing facilities were inadequate, in poor condition, and jam packed with students. Schedules were unorganized and students had to travel different locations throughout the campus for every module. The programme did not have a physical location because of the rapid expansion of new programmes and the high cost of building new facilities. The university even had to rent facilities from the adjacent hotel and distant buildings to accommodate the growing large number of international students. 

I strongly DO NOT RECOMMEND attending the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture and School of Environment, Energy & Resources Environmental Design and Engineering: a deceitful, profit-driven organisation.

Jul 12, 21 10:48 am  · 

So you came back with a different screen name and are now bitching about another school? Let me guess, you left Manchester School of Architecture and flunked out of UCL Bartlett School of Architecture.

Jul 12, 21 12:17 pm  · 
 ·  2

All universities are essentially businesses, specially huge ones like UCL. May I ask what program did you attend? And do you think Covid had something to do with what you experienced? 

Jul 13, 21 5:38 am  · 

Nope. Did not attend The Manchester School Architecture.

Former students complain of racism and sexism at UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture

Niall Patrick WalshBy Niall Patrick Walsh
 Jun 2, '21 11:47 AM EST

21 former students of UCL (University College London) have voiced complaints over alleged sexism and racism at the Bartlett School of Architecture. The complaints, first reported by The Guardian, stretch back over a decade. The ex-students' complaints include inappropriate comments on race and appearance, which they describe as “systemic” within the school.

The stories of the 21 ex-students were compiled into a dossier by former student Eleni Kyriacou and shared with the Guardian, who subsequently spoke to several recent graduates. Stories told by the graduates include one who said staff were “damaging primarily female students.” The graduate, of south Asian descent, claims that a staff member told a fellow student he could not tell that the graduate was “brown” as “she acted and spoke like a white person.”

Another student details their account of a video published by the school as part of a unit brief, which was insensitive towards race and the Black Lives Matter movement. “The brief had created a connection between hesitancy in the use of color in architecture and race and the Black Lives Matter movement. I found it absurd, ignorant, and offensive,” they told the Guardian. “So, it used a lot of violent imagery and then with that, the voiceover was discussing chromophobia [an irrational fear of color].” According to the student, the video suggested that “if there are colorful buildings in the new world of joy then racism or sexism would be negated.” 

That same student also shared their encounters with racist attitudes from their fellow students. “Students at the Bartlett, who came from all-boys public schools in London, called me the ‘whitest’ black person they had met,” the student said. “To them, studying architecture at a top school like UCL was a white and middle-class thing, not a place for a mixed-race, British, Black Caribbean woman with a working-class heritage.”

In response, UCL said they are launching an investigation into the complaints. “We have been aware of issues in the Bartlett school of architecture and have been working hard to address them for some time,” says Prof Sasha Roseneil, a pro-provost (equity and inclusion) at UCL. “We are deeply concerned to learn about these incidents, and we will investigate these, and any others that are brought to our attention.”

The publishing of the Guardian’s article has provoked a strong reaction from the architectural community. The UK-based Future Architects Front, who we spoke to last month on the topic of unpaid overtime in the profession, has shared a series of Instagram messages sent to them by followers. These messages detail more allegations of racism and sexism at the Bartlett and other institutions, including female students being harassed over their appearance, and further incidents of racial prejudice. 

Jul 14, 21 11:55 am  · 

That's horrible.

It's also not what you stated in your rant about the school.  Your criticisms were centered around overcrowding due to admitting too many foreign students and poor facilities.

You never once mentioned racism.  

1.  UCL is being run as a business, not as a university.

2.  Over the number of years, the programme doubled and tripled the number of international students to increase revenue because they pay significantly higher fees.

3.  The university desperately recruited and crammed as many students as possible into the programme for financial gain.

4. Existing facilities were inadequate, in poor condition, and jam packed with students. 

Jul 14, 21 2:37 pm  · 
2  · 

Nope. Just another unsatisfied customer writing a honest negative review as warning to help people. 

Jul 12, 21 4:33 pm  · 

I somehow don't believe you.

At the very least have some convictions and don't post anonymously.  Coward. 

Jul 12, 21 6:41 pm  · 
 ·  2

Why are you so sure he's lying? What interest would he have? I'm attending UCL this fall, and really would want to know if this is the case at the Bartlett.

I just know that a lot of students lack an understanding of what a masters degree is, and for some people are afraid of independence and being able to learn stuff on your own without someone holding your hand. I think it is an essential part of the doing a masters degree. 

The stuff about universities inflating international students number to make profit is kind of the standard nowadays. 

Jul 13, 21 5:42 am  · 

I think he / she is lying because:

1.  They posted to an obscure, existing thread instead of starting their own.

2.  They made an account just to make this post.  

3.  Their IP addresses are the same. 

Jul 13, 21 10:05 am  · 
3  ·  2
Non Sequitur

Chad, how can you see IP addresses? Teach me this sorcery.

Jul 13, 21 10:19 am  · 
Witty Banter

The plot thickens.

Jul 13, 21 10:19 am  · 

Same language too. Probably a spammer.

Jul 13, 21 11:05 am  · 

I have a buddy who is a computer scientist that specializes in cyber security and storage. He gave me a program that can determine someone's IP address. You can buy them online as well. It's not difficult however if you have any degree of security built into your site / profile it won't work.

Jul 13, 21 11:11 am  · 
1  ·  2

There are some truths in the post. Program did greatly expand in the last few years with new programs going out to new HEAR Campus. EU student numbers down in all Unis with Brexit + no longer part of Erasmus program so no free tuition(Blame bozo Boris). Programs across the UK rely too heavily on Malaysia and China for international recruitment - not just a UCL problem. 

Bartlett is known to recruit tutors / directors from graduate pool. 

Most programs across the UK probably have some first modules shared across programs - at graduate level research methods are generally shared. 

Some of the bits in the OP diatribe demonstrate immaturity such as marking. Director is asking for feedback because that's how you continually evolve a program - not seeking answers to questions from students. Graduate programs are designed as independent study with only 10% contact time so this lad/lass expects to be spoon feed. The Bartlett just built brand new building in the 2 years and has this amazing HEAR campus with all the robots etc.

Jul 13, 21 11:29 am  · 
1  · 

Chad Miller, how exactly are you going to get the IP address of a forum post. You need to query the database of Archinect and what you have to do is SQL Injection inside a search box or something that will interface with the SQL database used by the server to manage access. Doing this *IS* a cybercrime, by the way. All you have to do is talk to Paul Petrunia who is the site owner and admin of Archinect and he can look at the logs via admin accounts. Almost all forums software logs the IP address of the posts but this isn't something you should even be able to see unless you have a privileged account like a moderator level account or logging in as admin. 

The IP address you should be receiving for ALL posts is the IP address of the Archinect server using the type of software you described because it will only be the IP address of the packets from Archinect's server not anyone else's because we are not directly connected to you. I've ran web forums as forum admin and also served as moderators. 

Regular users should not be able to see the IP address of anyone unless the admin makes that available. I know some web forums platforms that do show the IP address of the user who posted the IP address. Now, you can test to see what my IP address is and what other users' IP addresses are. If everyone's IP address being shown is the same, it's because it's the server. Unless I email you directly, you won't get my IP address or even that of any sort of proxy server I may use. This is because the addresses are relayed but the server for Archinect would parse the packets I send when I post a post to this thread. Archinect server may store the IP address to its database server but the raw data packets header is not going to be stored. 

Now, when it sends to you a message that I replied to the post or make any such notice to you in email, it is not from me but from the archinect server. Do make sure you are looking at the right data. 

If you are using a tool that is doing some kind of SQL Injection into the database, I would advise in you to stop doing that. This can and could cause trouble for Paul Petrunia especially with european users raising concerns about their "personal data" and can file a claim of violation of the GDPR which the EU authorities can levy action against Archinect. Just a word of advice. Do not mess with the data and IP address is one of those protected data under GDPR along with other data stored and what you would be doing would compromise data security of this site. Whatever you are doing is extracting that kind of data out of the database which is not normally given or provided. This is why since GDPR, web forum software is designed to not outright post that kind of information and many been updated so it doesn't display that kind of information. 

I think Archinect has potential security flaws but one thing I noticed is that IP addresses aren't something outright shown to users and unless the site/forum admin set things up to show that information, it's something only the Admin or possibly privileged moderators may see. 

If you are not an admin or moderator, then you are hacking and therefore this would be a data security breach that per GDPR regulation, Archinect's data protection officer as designated for compliance with GDPR will be required to disclose the data security breach. This site serves users in the EU and around the world. I understand it is primarily a forum but Archinect is a business. GDPR is surprisingly far-reaching. It's something I don't think you want to inadvertently cause trouble for Archinect.

Jul 17, 21 5:00 am  · 


Exclusive: allegations going back a decade include inappropriate comments on appearance and race

A dossier shared with the Guardian claimed there were ‘systemic’ problems at the Bartlett school of architecture. 

Former students have complained of sexism and racism at University College London’s leading architecture school going back a decade, alleging inappropriate comments were made about appearance and race and female students were sometimes brought to tears.

In a dossier shared with the Guardian, compiled by a former student, Eleni Kyriacou, and including testimonials from 21 people, they claimed there were “systemic” problems at the Bartlett, the academic centre for the study of the built environment at UCL.

The university said it had been “aware of issues” in the Bartlett school and was working to address them. It is launching an investigation into the student complaints.

In 2007 an investigation by the equality, diversity and inclusion team at UCL, which monitors grades, picked up issues with women being given different marks than men. The team subsequently monitored teaching and concluded female students were being treated differently. The institution worked to address this, making improvements in recent years, but did not contact Bartlett alumni to inform them.

The Guardian spoke to a number of students who have graduated in the last couple of years, who all asked to remain anonymous. One former student, of south Asian descent claimed staff were “damaging primarily female students”.

She claimed a staff member had told a student he could not tell she was “brown”, as “‘she acted and spoke like a white person”. She felt her grades were affected by sexism and said: “I am still struggling with self-belief.”

One student claimed they made a serious complaint to Bartlett about a unit brief, which was published last year, that they had seen in text and video format. The video, which the student said caused hurt to many black and minority ethnic alumni, has since been removed by the university.

“The brief had created a connection between hesitancy in the use of colour in architecture and race and the Black Lives Matter movement. I found it absurd, ignorant, and offensive,” she said.

She said the video showed images of the Black Lives Matter movement. “So it used a lot of violent imagery and then with that, the voiceover was discussing chromophobia,” she said. Chromophobia is a persistent, irrational fear of, or aversion to, colours and is usually a conditioned response.

She said the video appeared to say that “if there are colourful buildings in the new world of joy then racism or sexism would be negated”.

She said it was “sloppy” and when she spoke to the director of the school he said he recognised the video as “awkward”, which was followed by its removal.

“I was shocked at the insensitivity and the violence of the images combined with the message of ‘chromophobia’. Having been a victim of racist teasing by my peers at the Bartlett, I felt very let down as the video and brief showed that there were tutors at the school who did not seem to understand the nuances of being black and an architectural student, and don’t seem to honestly address the idea that to some ignorant people being black, working-class, and an architect are all things that are not compatible.

“Students at the Bartlett, who came from all-boys public schools in London, called me the ‘whitest’ black person they had met. To them, studying architecture at a top school like UCL was a white and middle-class thing, not a place for a mixed-race, British, Black Caribbean woman with a working-class heritage.

“Rather than just take down that unit’s video and change the conflation of ‘chromophobia’ and the BLM movement in the unit’s brief, all unit intro videos were taken down and the brief was never changed.”

Students reported seeing other female students cry. Another claimed: “I agree that the Bartlett has a sexist culture.”

Kyriacou said she compiled the report after experiencing sexism while studying at the institution in 2000. She said: “I fear these findings implicate widespread misconduct that may have had a detrimental effect on hundreds of alumni, predominantly female.

“I urge UCL to investigate and to take bold action with regards to accountability for the misconduct that has occurred regarding staff members, but also to consider offering female alumni grade changes and being offered their RIBA part I [qualification] to those who need it so they can still become architects.”

Prof Sasha Roseneil, a pro-provost (equity and inclusion) at UCL, said: “We have been aware of issues in the Bartlett school of architecture and have been working hard to address them for some time. We are deeply concerned to learn about these incidents, and we will investigate these, and any others that are brought to our attention.”

In 2020, 40.5% of women at the Bartlett gained a first-class degree, compared with 39.5% of men. The Bartlett faculty of the built environment introduced a scholarship scheme last year to attract students from a broader range of backgrounds and to tackle the lack of diversity among the built environment professions.

Roseneil said: “We want to understand the wider and deeper issues raised by these reports, and so we will conduct a review into culture and behaviours in the school, as well as looking at the historical data.

“We are all too aware that sexist and racist behaviour takes place at UCL, and we are committed to tackling inequalities and to ensuring that our university is an environment in which students and staff can thrive in their diversity.”

Jul 17, 21 2:30 am  · 

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