End the uncertainty of UTAS student living arrangements for 2019
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On behalf of UTAS students, the TUU State Council is calling on UTAS to halt its decision to offer more accommodation to first-year students if it comes at the expense of the accommodation for existing students.
Whilst we note that the university has taken proactive steps in the realm of student accommodation through the re-development of MidCity and the impending construction of over 400 new apartments in Melville Street, we believe that current students should not be punished for the inadequate forward-planning of the university in this space. If we were in a time where supply outweighed demand, this would be an inconvenience but not a crisis. However, it is clear the housing market in Hobart is at a major pressure point.
Students living in university accommodation are financially vulnerable and should have been given adequate notice regarding the future of their tenancy. Two months out from the commencement of Semester 1, 2019, seeking new accommodation at such short notice is costly and stressful.
A significant number of students living in student accommodation have moved from various locations and represent diverse demographics. Therefore, this change will have wide-reaching impact on international and domestic students from interstate and regional and remote areas of Tasmania.
TUU President, Sharifah Syed Rohan, said it was concerning the university is moving to a policy that disregards existing students.
“Students have raised concerns with me around their future, particularly those who are undertaking spring and summer school units and those who have casual and part-time jobs,” Ms Syed Rohan said.
“It is unacceptable that many could be forced to discontinue their studies at the University, which would be contrary to promoting a positive student experience. Students have just completed a stressful academic period, with many continuing through spring and summer school and this adds unnecessary stress.”
For years, students have the expectation that their leases would be renewed if they demonstrated good academic and behavioural history, however, it is clear this isn’t the case for students seeking to return in 2019.
The TUU State Council recognises returning students weren’t guaranteed accommodation in 2019 but the timeframe regarding when students have been informed has been inadequate. If it has been on the university’s agenda for some time, it should have been made explicitly clear to students that they should be seeking alternative accommodation.
“This decision made by the university is reflective of a lack of transparency and accountability.”
“Students have been left in limbo, and this is unacceptable.”
The TUU is calling upon university management to:
* Rectify this situation and provide all returning residents with guaranteed on-campus accommodation.
* Alternatively, if this is not possible, we call on University Management to answer questions pertaining to this matter and in promoting a safe, fair and well university community we call upon the university to offer adequate support to students who may be affected by this matter and to ensure that there are on-site counsellors and rental advisors to support student wellbeing and to help them seek alternative accommodation.
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