Cardiff residences promised to stop removing possessions from halls: so where are my things?

This is not okay.

Earlier in the year, students of Talybont residences were left annoyed and, quite frankly, devastated when they returned to their accommodation to find that most – if not all – of their kitchen belongings had been thrown out or taken.

The University Residences team sent out an email, promising students that “a complete stop” would be put out for the clearing of kitchens. They also promised that rooms where belongings had been left would not be entered into.

Clearly this is a massive violation to the students privacy and personal belongings. So you can imagine my shock when I turned up at Colum Hall to find that some of my belongings had gone missing.

All of our kitchen things had been placed into boxes for us to sort out when we arrived back. After finding some of my items, I naturally assumed that I had everything I needed. Then I noticed there was actually a severe lack of the items which I had originally arrived to Cardiff with.

The flat’s contents were boxed up.

I could tell things were missing but could not comprehend just how much was gone. What’s worse was that every item of food, even non-perishables, were gone. Were they given to food banks? Taken? Thrown away? Who knows.

Without consent, my items were still sorted and taken, even after the disrespect that occurred at the Talybont residences. The email sent out after the incident clearly promised that the steps taken for these residences were not within the guidelines set out, rendering them unacceptable.

And it wasn’t just me. Another of my flatmates returned a day after me and found that some of her large items, including a rice cooker, were no longer in the kitchen.

To make matters worse, someone had literally entered my room without my permission to leave a letter on my desk. A letter. We got told to check the post boxes, so why would someone need to enter my room when I was going to check the post box? As I had to leave due to the pandemic, I still had belongings left in the room. Anything could have gone missing and I would have been none the wiser; the room was locked behind them, just like I had left it.

The Residences team specifically said they “would not enter bedrooms where belongings had been left behind”. Where was this promise when a stranger entered my room? What right is given for them to come and go as they please, without me being present?

I contacted the Residence Management team to find out what had happened and was told that perhaps one of my flatmates had taken my things in a rush. This clearly isn’t the case but it is bizarre that the incident is being blamed on the people living there rather than the ones who cleaned the kitchen.

Like many of the students who have also been affected, I feel violated. As a student, I put my trust in the University accommodation that my property would be kept safely and securely. No one else should be going through my possessions. What I was left with, however, suggested to me that the students are not valued and, instead, are treated poorly. The things that I was forced to leave behind (which I had told the University) are my property and what I do with them is my choice.

Not only has the pandemic cut my first year short, but now I have been left without some of my possessions as well as a broken trust with the university.

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