Muslim Edi fresher given ham sandwich as part of self isolation meal

She was also given bacon crisps and a ham salad

Edinburgh University provided a Muslim fresher with a ham sandwich during her self-isolation in Pollock Halls.

Leila, a first year currently self-isolating in Holland House in Pollock, has to rely on the University to provide her with food as she is in catered accommodation and unable to leave her building.

Leila told The Tab: “I’m Muslim and vegetarian and have been given bacon crisps, a ham sandwich and a ham salad.”

Students in Holland House pay upwards of £8,000 a year in rent.

Leila explained to The Tab what the food situation is like for those who self-isolating in Pollock: “All the meals are cold and never given on time so people always miss breakfast. The other day my food came at 2:45 PM. Today, it’s currently 1:20 PM, and I still haven’t been given breakfast or lunch.

“The veggie meal options are just small salads. I was delivered five salads yesterday.

“The breakfasts are so un-nutritious. It’s a Mars bar, a sliced mandarin syrup pot which looks like baby food, and a croissant and apple.”

An example of the breakfast provided to students

She continued: “It’s so disappointing because the food in the canteen has vegan options, veggie options, meat options, and is hot but the cold packed lunches are just awful.

“I don’t understand why they can’t use the surplus food from the canteen they have now because so many Pollock students have left (the food we are paying for) and pack it into take away containers which is what they were doing when we first got here.”

A local Edinburgh restaurant, Chai Lounge, has offered to provide students with religious dietary restrictions with meals.

A representative from Chai Lounge told The Tab: “On Sunday I heard over the radio a student complaining about not getting vegetarian meals so I reached out saying I know of organisations that can help or World Kitchen in Leith a social enterprise is willing to cook and deliver food.”

In addition to the food situation, Leila also says that the rules for students isolating are unclear.

She told The Tab: “I think because of the lack of clarity, people are scared because they don’t know if it’s them going into lockdown next.

“We were told that the most probable situation would be that all Holland blocks would go into isolation, so loads of people packed their bags and just left halls to go back home or stay in an Airbnb in Edi.

“The next day they decided not to lock down all of Holland so people had panicked and left for no reason.”

Leila also says that not only are the rules unclear, but there doesn’t appear to be anyone to enforce them.

She says: “So far I haven’t seen anyone trying to enforce the rules and our warden is self isolating as well. Apparently there were police here yesterday but because I’m always in my room I’m not to sure what’s going on.

“Most people are [following the rules] but there a few people who are just so inconsiderate.

When asked what the University was doing to support the students’ mental health in this time, Leila said: “The Uni has a given us emails and phone numbers for various wellbeing support officers, but I think it hasn’t been good enough and they still have a long way to go.

“It’s unhealthy for anyone to feel trapped, we are all freshers just moved away from home and now we feel like we are hung punished for coming to uni in the first place.”

The University told The Sun Online in a statement: “University staff are working hard to provide care and support – including mental health support – for all students who are required to self-isolate by the Scottish Government.

“Catering staff will provide three meals a day for all students living in University-provided accommodation.

“These meals are available in vegan and gluten-free options to ensure that all dietary requirements are met.”

The University of Edinburgh have been approached for additional comment. 

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