Petition launched to improve gym access for asylum-seeking students

Published

The Glasgow University Gym

Credit: Glasgow Guardian / Rhiannon Doherty

Sam Doak
Deputy News Editor

Glasgow Refugee and Asylum Seeker Solidarity (GRASS) and Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment (MORE) have published a petition calling on the University of Glasgow to allow asylum-seeking students to pay for access to the University’s gym in monthly instalments.

Currently all students not residing in halls, including asylum seekers, are required to pay an upfront fee of £125 in order to access the University’s gym and sporting facilities, which includes membership to sports clubs. The petition points out that asylum-seeking students are currently only entitled to £37.75 per week from the government. Asylum seekers are not generally eligible for financial support in relation to living expenses from bodies such as SAAS. As such, according GRASS and MORE, students in this position find it prohibitively expensive for access to these facilities under the University’s current policy.

In addition to preventing access to the University’s gym and swimming pool, the petition claims that affected students are also effectively barred by this policy from taking part in activities that do not require access to the building, such as attending meetings of the University’s hill walking club.

When asked by The Glasgow Guardian about how they will respond to the petition, a University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “Existing UofG Sport membership prices represent a significant discount from full membership prices, indicative of the value the University places on students being active. UofG Sport will continue to work with GUSA and other student representatives to provide a range of membership options that represent value for money.

“At present there are no plans to introduce monthly payments for students but these, and other payment options, will be reviewed in advance of the 2019-2020 academic session.”

GRASS and MORE’s petition regarding this issue can be found in full on Change.org. At the time of writing the petition has received 80 signatures from members of the public.