Langwith, James, and Derwent ranked high as welfare and industry connections fall behind in Times Higher Education surveys

Image: Eamonn Byrne Landscape Architecture

Langwith, James, and Derwent have all appeared in the top 30 student halls in the UK in a recent study detailed in an article by Times Higher Education. This follows the University of York appearing 23rd in the Times Student Experience Survey 2017, where York achieved an overall score of 79.7, although lagged behind in some critical areas.

On the new accommodation list, Langwith appeared highest at 11th, while James and Derwent each featured at 16th and 28th respectively. Student review site StudentCrowd analysed 10,834 reviews of halls by both students and graduates, with users ranking their accommodation experience from one to five stars for seven different metrics, including value for money, cleaning, and social experience.

Social experience and location were a top feature across the three colleges, while all also fell slightly behind on social spaces and value for money. Cleaning was rated higher for James than the others, although it lacked the top rating for wifi achieved by Langwith, with Derwent also falling behind on hall management.

However, while acknowledging its positives, one Langwith first year also lamented the issues they experienced: “Langwith being ranked 11th makes sense to me, partly because the rooms are nice, it has great amenities, and is in a good location. However, there are many underlying problems, including lack of response to or replacement of broken or stolen items, cleaning staff that don’t clean the kitchen to the level we were told they would at the beginning of the year, and ovens and taps that were broken when we moved in and never properly fixed despite being reported.”

A Derwent second year added: “Although some of the criteria are fulfilled brilliantly, such as in the bars as social spaces or the events Derwent puts on, I am still somewhat shocked as the cleanliness and room quality aren’t anywhere close to top 30, even with the value for money aspect considered.”

A University of York spokesperson said: “We’re delighted students are happy with their accommodation and have voted so positively in this survey.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve our service and ensure our students’ time with us on campus is as happy as it can be. In recent weeks we’ve also received awards for our catering and our internet provision, and it’s great to be recognised in this way.

“We do know that there’s always more we can do though, and we’ll continue to work with students and student groups such as York University Students’ Union, to ensure all our residents are as happy as those who voted in this survey.”

The main Times Student Experience Survey, which published its results back in March, rated York 16th for academic experience, 17th for safety, 22nd for facilities, and 29th for social life, but drastically fell behind elsewhere, reaching a low 85th for industry connections and 54th for student welfare.

Regarding welfare, participants were asked to rank whether their university had “good welfare support” from strongly agree to strongly disagree. York’s student welfare provision has received criticisms over the past year, including over a cut in college tutor hours. Ex-YUSU Community and Wellbeing Officer Dom Smithies and current Disabled Student Officer Aisling Musson slammed Derwent College for replacing the college tutor system of five post graduate students with a single full time graduate tutor without student consultation.

New Community and Wellbeing Officer Mia Shantana Chaudhuri-Julyan has been contacted for comment regarding York’s welfare performance in the survey.

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