Trailer trash freshers forced to slum it in mobile homes after accommodation blunder
‘Come here, go anywhere’ – so the uni sent them to Bucksburn
Over 250 freshers have been left stranded in temporary accomodation after a massive admin gaffe by Aberdeen uni.
And the university is even considering glorified trailers as permanent accomodation for the rest of the year.
But less than 100 freshers have been contacted with details of their make-shift halls, including a hostel and hotel. The rest are waiting to hear from bungling uni staff.
So far, thirty are being relocated to Aberdeen Youth Hostel, where they will share their bedrooms with five others. And this number is only looking to increase.
Sixty-one have it slightly better in a hotel – but it’s almost three miles from campus.
The Britannia Hotel in Bucksburn will house the unlucky freshers for two weeks, costing them £200 each.
And after that they could be relocated to portable “modular thingies” for the remainder of the year.
The university still hasn’t notified all of the students this will affect.
Ellie Whatling, who will be starting a History and Politics degree in September, called the accommodation office when she hadn’t heard back from them: “They didn’t tell me anything. I had to call them. I leave in nine days so I was super worried.
“I applied for South House or North Court and got a hotel. I’m not amused with the situation.”
Ellie even considered not coming to university this year: “They’ve been dreadful with the accommodation. I thought I was going to have to defer.”
Information for international students has been especially poor. Wendy, from Hong Kong said: “I rang them and emailed them a few times. And I got a verbal promise that I will have a accommodation but no information of what or when.”
Even students whose accommodation was guaranteed have been relocated.
Mairead from Ireland said Aberdeen was her insurance choice: “I’ve just been told that they didn’t realise how many people would be coming so there’s not enough places left in halls.”
This is despite the guarantee in Aberdeen’s prospectus: “If you’re a new student, we guarantee to find you a place in our portfolio of accommodation, provided your application reaches us by the deadline.”
The Bucksburn freshers will be armed with a two week bus pass, even though there are no night buses to Bucksburn.
However, AUSA is stepping in to help out.
Student President, Emily Beever, said: “AUSA are working on extending the bus routes, for freshers with wristbands, so if they are coming to our evening or ate night events, they can get door to door transport whether on campus and Hillhead or elsewhere”
And this door-to-door transport will be very useful considering they will have to travel for their meals.
The freshers are only being provided with one meal a day, which will be served at The Hub.
They will have to hang about on campus for their dinner at 5pm, apart from on Sundays when they will have to trek three miles for a measly brunch.
And they can’t even cook at their new home as the hotel has no self-catering facilities.
And just to rub salt into the wound, laundry facilities at the hotel are out of bounds for the freshers so they will have to haul their dirty laundry on a bus to Crombie-Johnston.
But Aberdeen University has laughably tried to play it off as the result of an “exceptionally successful admissions intake” rather than admit huge administrative failure:
“Due to an exceptionally successful admissions intake for the academic year 2014-15 at the University there has been an unprecedented increase in demand on the portfolio of our student accommodation which has regrettably resulted in the demand outweighing the supply.”
Emily Beever explained: “The university has not only oversubscribed this year, but the demand for student accommodation has risen to an unprecedented 75% from 65%.
AUSA are working hard to provide support for students suffering from the administrative blunder.”
But the Facebook group set up for these stranded freshers shows the extent of the university’s cock-up, with some students resorting to deferred entry.
The university even asked students to put uni off for a year: “We are asking students who live locally to consider deferring their entry into our accommodation, and also work has started on creating temporary dormitory accommodation in existing spaces in our accommodation. There will also be some students grouped together and accommodated in hotels, subsidised by the University.”
But some students will still be paying more money for their unwelcome stay in the hotel than they would have been at Hillhead.
Even students at catered halls Crombie-Johnston have been affected, with some students informed their room will be turned into a twin.
A spokesman at Aberdeen University said: “We are working to ensure that students are in temporary arrangements for as short a time as possible.
“We are exploring a number of options to increase our accommodation capacity.”
But President for Education and Employability is not surprised by the fiasco: ” The university has a bad record at keeping students at university, and the Student’s Association will work with the University to help these students and others affected by the accommodation mishap, so that they can stay at Aberdeen for their four years.”
Even lecturers are offering a helping hand. Beever explained: “The university community has really come together for the poor freshers, and academic staff have offered their spare bedrooms to students still struggling to find anywhere to live.”
AUSA are also planning special events to help these freshers feel at home.
President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, Genna Clarke, said: “We’re planning events, looking to extend our bus routes and asking them what they need and want in order to try and cover all bases and make sure they’re loving their time in Aberdeen.
“The fact that they aren’t in halls doesn’t mean they are any less of a priority for us.”