Marginalising students is only going to lead to trouble ahead

Placing students in increasingly more deprived areas will only make the drawbacks to higher education worse

Imagine living in a world where the entire population woke up at midday and stayed up until the early hours of the morning. Where the main cuisine was chocolate and takeaways, and your neighbours didn’t complain about the noise but instead actually joined in. Welcome to ‘Student Land’. 

This seems like a far-fetched reality. However, it could become everyday life given the recent legislation which makes it increasingly difficult for landlords to buy and renovate properties for students within residential areas. As a result, landlords would no doubt opt for the easier option and simply provide a range of non-residential properties, in one confined area of York. We’d have to live in some sort of giant student zoo; limited to grimy industrial areas or the beautiful middle of nowhere.

It seems slightly ironic that the government is putting so much emphasis on the importance of degrees when at the same time York councillors are attempting to force the very people undergoing such education out of the cities and marginalising them. If the government want us to obtain degrees for the benefit of their economy, we deserve the right to live in residential areas. Surely it’s hard enough tackling Higher Education without the additional complications of housing?

Part of being a student is learning how to function in a normal adult environment without holding your parents’ hand. If we were all kept in one giant student ghetto, we’d build a cellophane bubble of irresponsibility around ourselves and find we are increasingly segregated from the rest of society. 

As seen in Tang Hall it can often be residents that cause trouble for students

This separation may mean residents get more sleep but would not help positive social relations between the groups and would only lead to intensified misunderstandings and further hatred between the public and students. I’d rather live in a beautiful family area than a student ghetto. Once unleashed into the working world, we’d have to pay a translator to communicate to us in a form of English unrelated to the dialect of student life. 

In whatever area they choose to house us, the crime rate would rise dramatically. If I speculate about becoming a full-time burglar, my first target would doubtless be an area full of expensive property and no security. In the prime of ‘Student Land’, we are unsuspecting targets, prone to drunkenly leaving doors and windows unlocked to advertise our laptops, just waiting to be stolen. 

Some students, believe it or not, don’t actually like other students. These sorts tend to work very hard and achieve good grades without having to tie themselves to a library chair. They prefer to overachieve in the comfort of their own home, which would be very difficult to maintain if the rest of their street were fully-fledged members of the ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ lifestyle. 

York students are often integral to supporting their community. Plenty give up their spare time for the benefit of society through volunteering and yet the letter circulating Badger Hill claims students are “inconsiderate individuals”. Our help is clearly not appreciated. 

As seen in Tang Hall, it can often be residents that cause trouble for students; students are forever battling with disruptive and threatening locals. What does the Council propose to do with disruptive neighbours? They can’t group students and criminals together and ship us out of residential areas off to the other side of the city, creating an ASBO ghetto for us. 

I understand neighbours’ desire to see the back of us – young families are probably not going to flourish living next to 24-hour party animals. But we still have a right to be able to choose, and most students choosing family areas want to live there due to the very fact that it’s a quiet area and homey place to live. 

The proposed legislation is nothing more than unfair discrimination. There is no justice in declaring war on the quality of our homes and thus forcing us into inappropriate areas. It would be unjust, even illegal, to marginalise any other people groups to one area – so why should students be treated so?

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