University of Glasgow
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Glasgow Students Call For Reduced Student Numbers

Ellen Knight November 24, 2022

The student council at the University of Glasgow is calling for them to reduce student numbers at the university, after the student population reportedly exploded by 40% over a period of only five years.

The council stated that the extra 10,000 students have put a strain on university resources.

Accommodation at the University, for example, has been recently in the spotlight after new students this academic year were told that places in first-year halls couldn’t be guaranteed.

The BBC reported at the time that students who lived within commuting distance were “automatically denied” spaces in university accommodation. The university blamed a restricted private rental market and “increased demand“, despite increasing available rooms by 25%.

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“Unsuitable housing conditions”

Fast-forward three months, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) has written a letter to the University principal, Professor Anton Muscatelli, calling for change.

Rinna Väre, the SRC President, wrote: “The rapid increase in numbers over the last few years has put students in unsuitable housing conditions, made it difficult for them to access wellbeing resources they need, and negatively impacted the quality of learning and teaching.

“All these issues have an impact on the student experience and they must be addressed by preventing further growth in student numbers.”

In the academic year of 2021-22, there were 38,204 undergraduate and postgraduate students at the university, a significant increase from the 26,635 enrolled there in 2017.

Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

“Trapped in a cycle”

Ms Väre and the SRC are calling for a cap on student numbers to be introduced until 2027.

She told the BBC that “many students are commuting long distances because of the lack of accommodation, some are trapped in a cycle of couch surfing or even sleeping rough.

“Should the university agree to our demands, we will work with them to lobby both Glasgow City Council and the Scottish government to find long-term solutions to these issues.”

A spokesperson for the university replied that the institution had invested “proportionally in facilities, student services and in staffing” as its numbers grew.

The spokesperson continued: “We cannot accept that there has been a significant negative impact on both the quality of education and the student experience offered by the university.”

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Ellen is a freelance journalist studying MA Broadcast Journalism at Cardiff University. Her work has appeared in publications such as Teen Vogue and Al Jazeera, and tends to focus on politics and current affairs. Her involvement in student radio station Burn FM lead to an interview she conducted winning Student Radio Moment of the Year in 2022. She has been writing for Freshered since February 2022. You can follow her on Twitter @ellenmjknight