The University has agreed to pay Langwith College £30,000 for students in compensation as a result of a campaign by the Langwith JCRC and YUSU after an unprecedented level of complaints.
The settlement, agreed last week, will see all 623 Langwith residents offered a £50 credit on their accommodation accounts as compensation after having serious heating problems during the winter, water being cut off and the absence of a cash point on campus.
The complaints amounting to a total of 364 were formally made as early as November 2012 and have continued on and off until the spring.
This calls into question why the University took so long to finally resolve the problems most, if not all, students were witnessing.
One Langwith student complained that “inadequate heating” was provided since the start of term and despite many complaints, was not addressed until the 25th January 2013.
Whilst occasional outages were necessary to maintain the water supply, residents also complained water was cut off at least twice without notice.
Both items were argued by Langwith JCRC and YUSU to be in clear violation of Clauses 9.8 and 9.4 of the Service Legal Agreement to provide “reasonably adequate heat” and “adequate bathroom, toilet and shower facilities,” as all ceased without warning.
YUSU Welfare Officer Bob Hughes, who sits on the compensation panel, explained:
“All year, Langwith JCRC Officers have been working with me and Kallum to improve the facilities and standard of accommodation in the college. Whilst we’re pleased that most of these problems have now been fixed, we still believe that many were left for far too long, and students were not kept in the loop about what was being done. I know £50 isn’t a huge amount to an individual student, but over £30,000 for one college sends a really strong message to the University, that in future they need to be a lot more responsive to the needs of its students.”
Students in both Langwith and Goodricke Colleges also raised a lack of cash-point on Hes East. An ATM machine had originally been promised for Week 4 of Autumn term after a long campaign chaired by current and previous Goodricke JCRCs, but only arrived at the start of Spring term.
This was despite the fact the cash-point had been advertised as part of the facilities of Langwith.
Kallum Taylor, YUSU President commented: “We’re absolutely delighted with this win for Langwith residents. This is a great example of collaboration between their JCRC and YUSU. We were inundated with problems in new Langwith since they moved in, and it went beyond the point of ‘teething’ problems, so this is a fair, and telling, resolution.”
Langwith JCRC Chair Sam Maguire was also delighted with the announcement: “I’d particularly like to thank our outstanding JCRC Campaigns Officers Symone Thompson and Tim Monk for all their hard work, as well as Bob and Kallum at YUSU for their support. I’m really pleased that our campaign has paid off; our committee takes great pride in representing our students. Hopefully this can show what JCRC’s and YUSU can achieve when they work in tandem.”
All Langwith residents will be informed of the £50 offer this week, and have until the end of May to appeal.