Murano students face eviction and £1.2k fine over damages they say aren’t their fault

One student was allegedly told ‘not to pull the mental health card’

12 students living in Murano Student Village are facing a £1.2k fine and possible eviction after university accommodation services found them to be in breach of their accommodation contract due to damage caused to their flat, despite the residents claiming that the damage caused was not their fault. 

Three separate incidents occurred in the flat over two weeks starting in late January. The students deny any wrongdoing and feel that they have been treated unfairly and unheard by those investigating.

They are currently on a 28 day probation period whereby if they breach their contract again they risk being kicked out of halls and potentially university. 

What happened? 

The first incident happened on the 24th January when allegedly strangers broke into the flat and became aggressive, with one resident describing it as a “riot”. The students say they called the police and campus security immediately, but claim it took security over 1o minutes to respond to their call. When the police arrived they made several arrests.

In emails seen by The Glasgow Tab, the students were served with a £1.2k fine for damages to the lights, doors and other parts of the property. The residents disputed it was their fault, claiming the attack on their flat had been targeted. Murano management staff told the students they needed to prove they were being targeted, or else they would need to pay for the damage caused. They were also warned that if they breached their contract again they would face eviction.

The residents enlisted the help of Glasgow University Student Tenants Union (GUSTU) after the first incident.

A week after this happened, the door to the flat was damaged on the outside and the flat received a noise complaint. The residents had been celebrating a birthday and quickly quietened the party, which was made up of members of the household,  once they received the complaint. However they disputed the flat door could have been damaged by anyone in their flat as they had kept the door locked from the inside. Robert Partridge, Executive Director of Student and Academic services, stated because the residents couldn’t explain why they were being targeted, as well as a noise complaint he had received about the flat on the same night, they were to leave their accommodation. This was not an official notice of eviction, which is currently illegal under the Covid-19 extended eviction ban.

The third incident occurred when a passenger of a food delivery driver allegedly sexually assaulted a flat member in the stairwell. The students went straight to the police for this incident, stating they did not trust the halls security to handle the complaint.

Credit – @gustudenttenantsunion on Instagram

Since these events, Partridge has reversed his decision about asking the students to evict their flat, but has instead put them on a 28 day probation, with any slight breach of their code of conduct resulting in eviction.

The university also said they will replace the current security system at a cost of £100k, but this will not be whilst the current residents live there.

The residents state that one of the security staff allegedly told one of the flat members not to ‘pull the mental health card’ after these incidents occurred.

“It is our requirement that these incidents are investigated fully in an open process, and those responsible for egregious behaviour towards the students they care for are punished, re-educated on their responsibilities towards students” GUSTU said. “This is entirely an entirely reasonable demand.”

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow told the Glasgow Guardian: “We have a duty to protect everyone in our residences and we cannot tolerate behaviour that endangers safety of others. We asked the students in this flat to leave after multiple Covid breaches and significant damage to university property for which no reasonable explanation was offered.

“The university met with those involved multiple times to discuss concerns and agreed that, on the understanding that there are no significant incidents, the eviction notice will expire after 28 days and we will take no further action at this time. We have always made clear that support is available for all students through our health, wellbeing and welfare services and, over the course of this semester, support staff have undertaken checks on security and safety in all residences and found no issues of note.

“We understand this has been a very difficult period, particularly for those living in university residences. To assist, we have rolled out a programme of financial and wellbeing support, including an enhanced investment programme for refurbishments of accommodation, totalling of £4.5 million this year.”

The Glasgow University Press Office has been contacted for further comment.