Students without accommodation in Glasgow are reportedly being told to defer or to consider withdrawing from their university spots.
New and returning students in Glasgow wanting to start the new academic year are being told to go home. After a shortage of accommodation places and increasing rents, hundreds of students have been left without a place to live.
Accommodation not guaranteed
New Glasgow University students had previously been told that accommodation would not be guaranteed. The BBC reported that, after receiving their results, no students who already lived within commutable distance were automatically denied accommodation. Those who lived further away were then told that accommodation was not securely theirs.
The university had increased the number of rooms under its management by 25%. However, this wasn’t enough to cover the increased demand. The university then reportedly strongly advised that students not register there unless they had already secured accommodation.
Students believe the university ‘don’t care’
After receiving an email telling them to ‘suspend your studies or withdraw’, students now believe the university ‘don’t care.’
Kirshen Chadwick Patel told the BBC that he has spent the last two weeks sleeping at a friend’s flat. This, however, is not a long-term solution.
‘They don’t care about our education and they don’t care about us, because we want to finish our degree,’ Patel said. ‘They’ve done nothing at all in terms of the welfare of students. There are so many students who are sofa-surfing or are houseless and have nowhere to go.’
Kirshen is now urging the university to do more to help out students. However, it is the government that needs to change letting laws.
‘In the long term, the government needs to do something about letting laws, to relax the market and make it easier for students to get flats,’ they said.
Lecturers are concerned
A lecturer from Glasgow University has commented on the problem, choosing to remain anonymous. The lecturer believes the situation is a ‘crisis’ and that emergency accommodation should be provided for those without homes.
‘I would describe this as a crisis for the students who are caught up in it,’ they are quoted as saying. ‘To be homeless is a crisis for anyone – and students who find themselves in this position are in a particularly invidious position.’
The lecturer also criticised the lack of time the university is giving the students to make such a monumental decision.
‘They’re having at very short notice to think about whether they stay in Glasgow, whether they move back home, what they’re going to do for a living. These are things they weren’t expecting to think about as recently as a few days or a few weeks ago.’
The problem is spreading
It is not just Glasgow students without accommodation. The President of NUS Scotland, Ellie Gomersall, told the BBC that the same issue was beginning in Edinburgh and St Andrews.
‘We are seeing an increase in the number of students who are being offered places at university, which is fantastic,’ they said. ‘But what we are not seeing is an increase in quality, affordable accommodation.’
A spokesperson for Glasgow University has commented on the ongoing problem: ‘We understand the concern students have about finding accommodation for the new semester, and we are taking a number of actions to support our students and ensure continuity of learning wherever possible.’
‘In some cases, our advice may include pausing studies for this academic year while ensuring students continue to have access to university systems and services.’