Current students should be given campus priority

Final year students should be not be left out because of the University accomodation shortage, says Daniel Whitehead

Roughly a year ago, I read a news article in Nouse, which said ‘Students to desert ‘dull’ campus and use private rental’. Twelve months on, after suffering over-priced off-campus housing, I decided that perhaps dowdy campus accommodation may not be so ‘dull’ after all and applied to move back into Langwith College. However, when it came to my attention that a final year student has less than a 50 percent chance of getting back on to campus and the University was using an ancient report as the basis for its accommodation policy, my reaction was shock, worry and disbelief.

How can York go from being on the verge of flogging the rooms off for free last year, to making on-campus accommodation an invaluable commodity only available to those lucky few who are randomly picked from a hat? For me the news was rather depressing. Not only am I without enough housemates or a house for next year. But as a Computer Scientist and a member of several societies, I spend a considerable amount of my time on campus. So living almost in the suburbs of Leeds (i.e. Fulford) is not the most enticing option.

It seems that the University has more pressing issues than my welfare though; the small matter of making as much money as viably possible by accepting an increasing number of Freshers seems higher on their agenda. I think the word for this phenomenon is the private sector, but as an educational institution in my opinion the students currently at the University should be more of a priority.

Such is the University’s intention on maximising profit, that they make overseas students the golden children of the institution by offering priority over even the disabled who may not be able to make it on to campus. Why is this? It is simple, foreign students pay thousands of pounds more per head in tuition fees. I totally understand that as an international member of the University it is hard to afford an education and pay for private rental but when several will take their skills abroad after graduation, should others have to suffer to accommodate their problems?

The effect of such a drastic drop in rooms available has had outreaching consequences in the York community. Landlords of the small pool of student housing available have realised that demand is large. And with the Heslington East expansion on the horizon, it is only going to get bigger; evidently prices have risen rapidly in many areas, which has major issues for students on lower budgets. These problems have hardly been helped by the on-going conversion of Vanbrugh into the ghost-town college/office block.

It does indeed seem that York University can get very little right. Not only are hundreds of final year students in the most important year of their life, facing having no accommodation for the next academic year. But the main reason for this is that the University is using an out-of-date report on the needs of third-years as the basis for their decision making.

Yet seemingly our university will carry on regardless in its faceless pursuit of being unpopular amongst the students. Nobody actually sees the people who make these controversial, stupid decisions. They prefer to hide behind the glossy cover of the receptionists who offer no useful information to anyone, and cannot give us any rational reasoning. I say would it not be nice to have a people in the University of a reasonable intelligence and who cared about us!

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