The ugly term ‘studentification’, coined in 2002 to describe the social and environmental changes caused by increased numbers of student residents, is rapidly gaining credibility in local authority circles. Last November a motion passed was by the council granting authorities the power to restrict the number of mulitple occupancy houses, i.e. student accomodation, in any one residential area.
YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning has rightly called the motion “obscene”. Those who value their freedom – to live where they choose – will most likely concur. That one section of society should be singled out by the council is shocking. The motion was passed under the guise of protecting “diverse” and “harmonious” communities, but could seriously jeopardise accommodation prospects for the student population. Many students already struggle to find houses near campus and central planning by council authorities is likely only to exacerbate this.
We should feel disappointed by the lack of opposition from John Grogan MP and Councillor James Alexander. Students rallied to support Grogan in 2005, when he won his seat in parliament by less than 500 votes. Alexander, himself a former YUSU President, would do well to remember the potency of the student vote as parliamentary candidate for York Outer.
Students value independence. But more than that, we value the normal freedoms granted to all UK citizens.