In the issue dated 21st November 2001 this paper ran the headline ‘Outrage at halls sell-out’. The outraged concerned the now-enacted plans to strike a 32-year deal to sell off student halls to a private company, Glasgow Student Village.
The story this paper ran detailed how the SRC had been frozen out from all discussions about the deal, and it would later play out that it was forced through despite massive opposition from the student body.
Fourteen years later this deal is still, unfortunately, in place and this Tuesday (8th) I attended the ‘student liaison group’. This is a tokenistic meeting which happens before the full board meetings of this private company. I walk in, I am asked if I have anything to say, and then I must leave. I am not allowed to know anything about the business of a company turning over £15m. This is despite me being, as SRC President, a governor and trustee of the University - equally responsible for the stewarding of a £500m turnover and a £1bn capital plan.
It truly beggars belief that the halls that our students live in are allowed to operate without any student oversight.
And why is this important? Because at this meeting on Tuesday I was informed that despite inflation in 2015 being negligible, rents will, for the 14th year in a row, go up. The increase for 2016-17 is 1.5% (but that is okay, I was told, as it is less than the 2.2% increase last year).
What exactly are students in Murano Street paying £440 a month for?
And how will it be any better when they pay £451 a month next year?
I do question whether it is in the best interests of students to live in University of Glasgow halls of residence in 2016-17.