Students who lived in Fairfax House, which is part of Vanbrugh College, during their first year at the University have been asked to pay around £2,500 plus VAT to replace four damaged sofas in the common room. The total cost of the charge is expected to be nearly £3,000.
Residents were sent an email in June warning them that the whole house would be fined if no one owned up to causing the damage after it was brought to the attention of Lenore Klassen, Vanbrugh’s College Administrator, by Jane Whyman, Fairfax House’s Facilities Manager.
However, no one confessed to being responsible for the damage, which means former residents are now facing a fine of £30-£35 each. Three students who checked out before 13 June will be exempt from the fine as the damage to the sofas was reportedly caused the following weekend.
Many students have branded the fine “unfair” as they did not use the common room or cause the damage, whilst others feel the amount of the money they are being asked to pay is excessive.
One former resident of Fairfax House told Nouse: “To be honest I think it’s terrible opportunism by the people in charge. They’ve seen a bit of damage and they’re trying to exploit us to improve Fairfax because they know it’s substandard accommodation for the price. Those sofas were never £700 each and none of them were irreparable. It’s disgraceful from the University and I suggest that if they do put a fine near what they said, nobody pays it and when attention comes to it they’ll realise that the claims for that figure are a joke.”
Another former resident said: “It’s not fair on any of us to be charged that much and I don’t think there’s any one person or group responsible for the damage.”
However, some students have accepted that sharing the cost of the repairs is the fairest solution, with one student saying: “In my personal opinion, we’re just going to have to grin and bear it. It is deeply saddening that whoever did it has not come forwards, and I hope they feel ashamed of themselves, but we are a community and I feel it is only right that we share the bill equally.”
A email has since been sent to Klassen, who is currently on annual leave, asking her to reconsider the amount former residents of Fairfax House are being charged and provide receipts for the sofas alongside photographic evidence of the damage to the furniture.