The concept of “studentification” has been much talked about in recent months. This describes the take-over of certain parts of cities to create student “ghettos”. Inhabitants of the city claim that these areas are disruptive and dangerous. They also complain that these areas become deserted during the summer months when students are away on holiday. Whilst these claims may be valid in certain areas, it is obviously understandable that students are likely to live near each other in an affordable area that is close to their University. While this may create a “ghost-town” during the summer, perhaps the city would benefit from some quiet during the tourist season!
Our University has, surprising as it may be, defended our students saying that many of the stereotypical views on students (being noisy, dirty, drunken… you get the general idea) are uncalled for and inaccurate. They have also said that it’s less than 1% of areas where the student population is more than 10% making these problems the exception and not the rule.
Some council’s in the UK have previously been trying to convince the local authorities to cut down the number of Homes of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in certain areas: usually student homes. Rugg and Rhodes (the authors of this report) have said that doing so is discriminatory and to do this to any other faction of society would be considered so. As students are an important section of society, they should be offered the same respect and care as any other member of society would. This would require them to have a roof over their heads!
This report has been backed by the NUS whose vice-president said “We welcome this independent review, which is a victory for common sense.”: something which I wholeheartedly agree with! It must be understood that students should not be considered as at the bottom of the food chain but actual, productive people: contributors to society. Many, if not all, universities have societies that raise awareness and funds for charities and it is often students that stand up against an injustice being perpetrated. These contributions are not to be belittled or ignored.
It has now finally been recognised that some sort of framework needs to be set up to ensure that university students are able to live close enough to their University to not be considered commuters. The NUS vice-president also encourages Student Unions to liaise with local councils if the university has problems with housing off campus. Apparently the government is planning to create more University provisions for students in 20 towns and cities, whether this includes York or not is yet to be seen (although we all know it needs it.)
It seems to be quite rare for anybody in the country to actually defend the ever increasing student population and so we should be proud that our University did so!