We didn’t come to uni for fancy en-suite rooms no one can afford
Who needs heated towel rails anyway?
Loos over lecturers
We all know the old shitty accommodation, like Carnatic and Greenbank, brings people together. Having to share tiny kitchens and mouldy showers encourages a sense of community among students, as they bond over their shared suffering.
It also provides opportunities for team work, such as catching a mouse or some other creature to have taken residence behind your wardrobe.
You’re also far more motivated to socialise, unable to bare being on your own in a tiny room, while the fancy flats of Vine Court and Crown Place make it hard to leave. These upmarket halls are notorious for making it difficult to make friends – from lonely lounges to militant RAs, they’re a social nightmare for freshers.
It’s not uncommon for people to flee these soulless halls, akin to a four star hotel, in order to join the shabbier but more welcoming halls off campus. Many just like this fresher, who had no regrets moving into Carnatic from Vine Court.
It seems the university doesn’t share this sentiment, as it has invested millions in building expensive en-suite rooms purely to compete with other Russell Group universities.
The proportion of en-suite rooms has increased from 9 per cent to 54 per cent since 2011.
“We have invested in our student accommodation to bring it in line with other Russell Group universities and enhance our offer to students.” In total, £99.8m has been invested in Crown Place and Vine Court, creating 2008 en-suite rooms.
Of all the things to compete with other Russell Group universities on, accommodation should hardly be a top priority.
Especially considering that, according to the Complete University Guide, we are the worst ranked in the Russell Group with regard to entry standards, student satisfaction, graduate prospects and research quality.
Instead of competing with other Russell Group unis on the best strategy to rip off their richer applicants, the university needs to focus on their teaching excellence, or research.
It’s not exactly radical for the uni to invest in things that students actually intend to pay for with their crippling fees.
There’s no denying that en-suite rooms are necessary as an option. They are incredibly helpful for disabled students, more independent or introverted people, or those who don’t want to make contact with filthy northerners.
However, 54 per cent is far too excessive, as I’m sure 54 per cent of first years would rather not to have to pay for printing and textbooks than have their own personal toilets.
Our uni prides itself on widening participation in its students, with 9.6% of our students being from low participation backgrounds – the highest rate in the Russell Group.
But how does the university expect to adapt to those from lower socioeconomic classes when the prices for rooms are comparable to living in London?
The university needs to shift its priorities. Thankfully recognising this, our new VC is putting forward a fresh Strategic Review of the university’s investments.
Hopefully her effort to improve student experience won’t misjudge what really matters to students, and we will finally (fingers crossed) get our hands on those free printing credits.