Bristol uni student describes treatment as ‘shocking’ during isolation in Unite House
Her flat was only given a single bag of pasta between six
After being trapped in her flat in Unite House hall during a quarantine after her friend tested positive for Covid-19, Josefina Nagler Gomez spoke to Metro about the poor treatment she received from the university and why she is participating in the current rent strike.
Josefina told Metro that her flat of six people received only a single bag of pasta and “randomly thrown together” ingredients such as tins of jackfruit and no fresh fruit and veg for their quarantine.
Each student was supposed to receive their own box yet, between the six of them, only four boxes were received, three of which were vegan despite none of the students in the flat being vegan.
Previously Bristol students had described receiving the food boxes given out by the university as being “like Christmas” because of the amount of free food received. Students mentioned receiving Oreos, fruit, pasta, and ready meals, a stark contrast from the claims being made by Josefina about inadequate food boxes.
Josefina also told Metro that the boxes they received had no female sanitary products. This was made even worse because the university advised students to order any other necessities through online supermarket delivery services, despite these services having an influx of orders and wait times being a minimum of four days.
The university had promised a lot more than what Josefina and other students received. Josefina told Metro that “the university had all summer to prepare to make it safe for us to be here” and displayed frustration that they did not live up to that standard.
A spokesperson for the university told Metro: “As part of our package of support, free food boxes were sent to every student who had to self-isolate. We are sorry to hear that Josefina was unhappy with her food box. We have clear processes in place for students to get in touch if they have any problems, questions or concerns and we will do our utmost to resolve these as quickly as possible.”
In addition to the food boxes, students were told they would receive free laundry and services, yet Josefina told Metro that her flat did not receive this. They were also given no provision when it came to outside time, so she felt trapped in her flat.
Josefina also said she feels as though the university has not lived up to the standard of teaching it claimed it would provide. The university claimed it would provide “blended learning” and that being at university would be beneficial to students, yet Josefina has only had two in-person seminars after a month and a half of the term. This minimal contact time and ability to learn from home meant living in halls and paying rent was basically unnecessary.
As a result of this poor treatment, she is taking part in the uni rent strike. She is withholding £6,000 that she owes the university for rent. The university has agreed to pay back 10 days’ worth of rent to students, but this does not meet the Bristol Rent Strike’s requirements of a 30 per cent decrease in fees, so students are still striking.
The university responded to Josefina’s comments claiming that “although students are facing some necessary restrictions to safeguard their health and the health of others during the pandemic, we have been as flexible as possible and believe we’ve gone above and beyond to provide support.”