Accommodation ignored as all eyes are looking East

The University’s accommodation website section opens with a tactical and questionable statement for prospective students: “opportunities for students to live in University accommodation…are better at York than at most other universities.”

Looking beyond the deliberately vague nature of this statement, it is possible to reduce it to a simple comparison of two negative outcomes; essentially describing York’s dismal accommodation as the lesser of two evils. This is not only unappealing, but could also become untrue as the University’s flippant attitude towards accommodation maintenance is setting York’s buildings on a spiral into disrepair.

In a time when prospective students are flocking to York for open days, talks, and accommodation viewings, it is essential that the University presents itself well. In order to attract next year’s students struggling with tuition fees, York needs to offer quality degree programmes, lecturers, and accommodation.

Instead, the University is opting to cover up its negligence by averting prying eyes towards the Heslington East campus. I recently received an email offering me money if I agreed to open up my room for an afternoon, but upon closer inspection I discovered that the opportunity was only available to me if I lived on Heslington East.

We should be offering a fair picture of all accommodation to those coming to view York, not just sending visitors to a shiny Heslington East penthouse. But if prospective students were allowed into other colleges, they’d perhaps suffer a sub-zero Derwent cell, an asbestos infused Vanbrugh biohazard tent, or even the latest Eric-Milner water park.

If the University succeeds in painting a false but perfect picture for new students, many will be in for an unexpected horrendous first year of living away from home.

With the latest stories of outraged students being forced from their rooms due to leaks in the Eric-Milner blocks, it’s time the University repaired the damage done and also started paying for regular maintenance as it is legally obligated. As one irritated porter succinctly put it: “It’s bloody ridiculous; they only spend money on it when something goes wrong.”

The repercussions of this flippancy will be costly, as the University is forced to spend greater and greater sums of money.

If the angry petition-signing students of the Eric-Milner blocks were the first, then I would not judge so harshly, but they are not. The list of problems with University accommodation is growing in size and severity; the University needs to lift its attention from polishing the Heslington East expansion and focus more attention on the main campus, before it’s too late.

We need to decide upon the future of the main campus. The University need to realise that letting it slide into disrepair is not an option. The older the buildings get, the greater the cost of repairs will be until the bills become insurmountable, resulting in abandonment.

With more time and money, campus accommodation would be a far more comfortable environment, and the University wouldn’t be forced to lie about its facilities and present a warped picture to prospective students.


  1. 24 Feb ’11 at 3:56 pm

    Russell Naglis

    Perhaps the author may have considered some legitimate reasons behind asking for those in Goodricke college to open their rooms to prospective students. The most obvious explanation to me is that an open day/interview day hosted by one of the departments which have re-located to Hes East may require a room for viewing for the convenience of the visitors; I know for a fact that the York Law School Interviews took place during week 6 and that students were shown around Goodricke college bedrooms.
    I suppose the idea of student press is just to jump on the paranoia bandwagon and say that the university are out to squeeze as much money out of us as possible and hoodwink innocent prospective students. Perhaps a slightly more investigative rather than accusative approach is required.
    You may have some legitimate complaints about the quality of accommodation but this sort of irrational finger pointing is not a very sensible way of having the complaints resolved. If the university are allowing leaks to continue then they, like any other landlord, are required to fix them and may be made to do so if one sought proper advice rather than pretending to be martyrs suffering at the hands of the evil university hierachy.

    tl;dr: Do your research and read your contract.

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  2. Not a new theory!

    (Sorry for the elaborate style, it was my first piece for Nouse!)

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