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Editorial: College Accommodation

Posted on 24th October 2001. 3 Comments

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Editorial: College Accommodation added 24.10.01 As someone who has been at this university for many years and had my fair share of experiencing the cupboards that pass as bedrooms I hope that Heather Berrow’s actions make a point to the University that people will not put up with these conditions for much longer.
Accommodation at Durham University has long paled in comparison to that offered elsewhere. This is most apparent in in situations such as when a friend came to visit me in my Bailey college room from Cambridge University and his incredulous reaction upon entering was “is this it?”. He had a room equivalent to the size of four of ours. It held the usual desk, bed, wardrobe but also a sofa, armchairs and enough room left over to play football.

You may be thinking that Oxbridge is a different kettle of fish – so let’s take St. Andrews to be the closest there is to an equal of Durham. The rooms they offer are en suite and have had internet connections since 1995, a full ten years ahead of projected widespread availability here.

Could the administrative staff be unaware of the appalling conditions? The answer to that is a resounding no. I have witnessed a JCR Executive Committee attempting to present to a College Governing Body the valid point that it will become more and more difficult to attract top quality applicants as they can go to equally good universities elsewhere, but also have high quality accommodation for less money. The only reason why people put up with it is the college system and the supposedly good reputation – but for how much longer?

You will find that the College Officers can just sit there and smile is that they know full well about “Durham apathy” – there won’t be riots or rebellion, just a few people whinging, and putting up with it.

Looking at the budgets of this university, you start wondering why there is such a chronic shortage of money. Apart from Oxford and Cambridge which both have billion pound endowments, our other siblings have to get by on similar amounts to ourselves. Which leads to questioning where all the money goes. Yes, the college system costs more to run, but we are not fully collegiate in the Oxbridge sense, and we get extra money from the government anyway. So why is it that Hull charges £35 ppw whereas Castle charges nearly three times that; we are supposedly a top research university which should attract a high proportion of funding?

editor@durham21.co.uk

3 Comments »

  • marypoppins said:

    i think its awful that the powers that be in durham seem to be simply brushing the problems aside and relying on the university’s reputation to attract prospective students. the attitude of “if they want to study somewhere as good as here theyll just have to deal with it” is pathetic, but unfortunately they are right: people dont often choose their uni solely on accomodation standards. furthermore, the collegiate system is so hyped up that its as though the rooms dont matter because the colleges provide such a “unique” environment. basic necessities nowadays include internet access: using limited computer resources within college or your department doesnt compare to having the convenience of being able to study easily in your room, and the bathroom facilities, if not en-suite, should be of a far higher standard than the one many durham students have to live with day to day.

  • marypoppins said:

    i think its awful that the powers that be in durham seem to be simply brushing the problems aside and relying on the university’s reputation to attract prospective students. the attitude of “if they want to study somewhere as good as here theyll just have to deal with it” is pathetic, but unfortunately they are right: people dont often choose their uni solely on accomodation standards. furthermore, the collegiate system is so hyped up that its as though the rooms dont matter because the colleges provide such a “unique” environment. basic necessities nowadays include internet access: using limited computer resources within college or your department doesnt compare to having the convenience of being able to study easily in your room, and the bathroom facilities, if not en-suite, should be of a far higher standard than the one many durham students have to live with day to day.

  • marypoppins said:

    i think its awful that the powers that be in durham seem to be simply brushing the problems aside and relying on the university’s reputation to attract prospective students. the attitude of “if they want to study somewhere as good as here theyll just have to deal with it” is pathetic, but unfortunately they are right: people dont often choose their uni solely on accomodation standards. furthermore, the collegiate system is so hyped up that its as though the rooms dont matter because the colleges provide such a “unique” environment. basic necessities nowadays include internet access: using limited computer resources within college or your department doesnt compare to having the convenience of being able to study easily in your room, and the bathroom facilities, if not en-suite, should be of a far higher standard than the one many durham students have to live with day to day.