QM halls management unresponsive

Published

Euan McTear

Students have reported several problems in University halls, including cracked ceilings, broken heating, delayed installation of wireless routers and the fact that management have not been concerned with the problems that have arisen.The reports of problems come just a few months since House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences were initially rejected at Murano Street Student Village following the identification of 16 safety problems.

Glasgow Guardian has been told of several specific incidents at Queen Margaret Halls, the most expensive self-catering halls that the University provides, that have occurred since the start of the academic year.

One first year student told of how she had reported leaking through the roof in the stairwells of the halls and the fact that the leak had spread to her room, causing a crack. She criticised the response of the managers, who took four days to log her complaint into their system and only did so after she complained three times. The management were also said to be unhelpful when inspecting the damage, simply stating: “That’s not good.”

The leak has since been fixed and the work was completed within 16 days. The student was offered alternative accommodation, but preferred to stay in Halls during the repair work.

A student in another block also reported problems with heating, which had broken twice in three months. Hot water was also unavailable for a period five days. Engineers who came out to attempt to fix the boiler had claimed that previous engineers made the problem worse and that a new boiler would be needed. Having been told that the heating may not be fixed for winter, the students were told they would be provided with extra blankets.

The University confirmed that students were indeed offered extra blankets as a “solution”. A spokesperson said: “Where there are any heating or hot water issues we offer standard interim solutions such as portable heaters, additional blankets, additional kettles or alternative showering facilities, until the fault is rectified.”

These students eventually received clarification that their heating would be fixed and that the extra blankets would not be necessary.

First year student Emma McKie commented on the poor management of requests for repairs at Queen Margaret halls: “It seems to be that when people report issues they simply are not getting put into their system properly or there is a lack of communication between staff somewhere…The staff here seem to say that they will report an issue and actually don’t bother.”

The University responded to the claims, saying: “We have a timetable that we work to that should ensure that all emergency repairs are actioned within 24 hours, and non-urgent problems such as electrical faults are dealt with within 7 days. Less serious issues, such as those involving non urgent internal fitting repairs can take significantly longer but we do our very best to act within a reasonable time frame.”

The University also said: ““We aim to provide an excellent service to students and do our best to attend to any repairs or problems that are brought to our attention as quickly as possible.”

Queen Margaret halls’ residents are able to log problems in a number of ways. Students staying at the accommodation can log a repair online, by phone, by email, by completing a repair request, by going to reception or by reporting it to the SR/cleaning team. Residents should be advised of an expected repair timescale once a repair request has been received and should be told when the work has been completed.

The concerns with accommodation do not appear to have been limited to the Queen Margaret halls. A first year English Literature student told the Glasgow Guardian that the wireless routers in rooms at Murano took several weeks to be installed when they were supposed to be ready upon students’ arrival in September.