YORK STUDENTS feel they are not being represented by their SU President who has swallowed wholesale admin’s ideas about Campus Three. Alexander has belittled student campaigns against the campus development and has explicitly stated that he does not support them.
Alexander is convinced that Heslington East students will want to stay on campus for the duration of their course, which will be assured he says “by agreeing to share [University] rent models with the City of York Council to make sure they are locally competitive and by providing decent facilities.”
He also insisted that students had been properly represented in the Heslington East development. However Politics student, Nick Baron, commented: “We haven’t been consulted properly, and have certainly not been asked if we would like to stay on campus for three years. Alexander is just a puppet of the University – he’s out of touch with what we want.”
Alexander, ignorant of the University’s secret market research on housing, refused to recognise the consequences of 5,000 extra students on the local housing market if they won’t stay on campus.
He also expressed disinterest in claims that the University was putting business interests over academic ones, and was insistent that he had not seen a figure suggesting 38 per cent of the new campus would be business based.
In reaction, an enraged Dr. Richard Firn, from the Biology Department, commented: “The scale of the Science City is clearly described in the planning documents, of which there are copies in the library if the SU President ever decides to read them. To be ignorant of that aspect of the scheme is to betray a lack of serious study.”
When asked what his opinion was on Dr. Firn’s extensive environmental concerns for the development of Heslington East as reported in the last edition of nouse, Alexander stressed that he did not remember any of these being put forward.
Dr. Firn accused the SU President of “lazy thinking”, and remarked: “I presented my opinion to the Council in writing and presented them at the Council meeting which I think he attended. The President does admit it may be a fault of his memory and clearly it is.
“The President is entitled to his opinions but I wish he was better informed about the issues.” In this, Dr. Firn reflects the concerns of misrepresented students across campus.
The big questions which students have not been asked about, let alone been allowed to answer, remain; firstly, whether they can be made to stay on campus; secondly, whether they are happy to be subordinated to allow business expansion; and finally, whether they want their new campus to be ecologically unsound and gobble up valuable greenbelt land.
The more students that speak out and say no to these propositions the more untenable it will be for the Heslington East plans to be passed by a public enquiry.