Drugs, sex, sport, creativity and politics, five words which for many are the cornerstones of University life. However, we at the University of York have been left out of data on all of these things, or rated right down near the bottom. Is this fair? A lot of students don’t think so.
A recent Which? survey did not include York in any of its criteria, opting to choose the University of Oxford, Guildford, Dundee, Huddersfield and Buckinghamshire amongst others over the University of York in the ‘Creativity and the Arts’ category, even though we top many League tables for our Arts departments.
Rhys Hayes, a WDP student, commented:
“Overall I’d say we are very artsy in regards to societies. We have Pantsoc, CHMS, Dramasoc, Fusion, YSTV and a cracking music department. Vanbrugh Garage and all that too.”
Similarly, York was left off a list of Universities with a ‘lively political scene’, instead, Which? decided to talk about SOAS, LSE, Sussex, Birmingham and Queen’s, to select a few. Many students think that this is ‘unfair’, especially considering the lively political debates, some of which went nationwide, and the motions which were taken forward by our students to NUS conference. We also had one of the largest turn-outs at NUS demo last year.
“I think it’s rather unfair that York isn’t considered to be a politically-active university. The Lib Dem society’s campaign last year on drugs policy made it to the national NUS policy book, and our campaign this year for fairer fares on public transport is already making progress. YUSU is also more active than a lot of other Unions I’ve seen, as things like the fourth loan campaign for medical students and recent feminist campaigns have shown.”
We were also left off the list of ‘sporty’ Universities, and Universities with a good sports scene and team spirit- it wasn’t necessarily about the quality of the sport, but about the facilities and variety of sports societies.
Huw Davenport, who is involved in sport, at York commented:
“Sport is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people. York being left out of the league table for sport will stunt the growth of what is a flourishing and vital part of York University life.”
Caitlin Graham, who is involved in University and College netball, also thought that being left off the survey was unfair, and she said:
“The university has a wide range of activities an great chances to get involved. College sports have given me a great chance to get involved in new sports such as ultimate frisbee and fun one day events which are always really sociable and create a great team spirit within the college.”
“On the university sports side the teams are very dedicated but also know how to have fun. We work hard and play hard. In terms of facilities there has been much improvement especially with relation to the sports village on Hes East. There are loads of classes to attend with friends plus a state of the art gym and pool. The sports centre is also great and has recently undergone improvements. Overall sport at York is improving constantly and there is always a chance to get involved and create new friends.”
We have been at the bottom of many league tables and surveys about sex and nightlife, too, recently, such as the Student Beans Sex Survey where we came 42nd with an average of 3.88 sexual partners per year. We were also left off the Tab’s survey about student drug intake.
One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented:
“I’d like to know who these students in the surveys actually are. Neither me nor any of my friends have been asked about our sexual history or drug use by anyone and we all shag like rabbits and take enough drugs between us to kill a couple of medium-sized elephants.”
Another agreed, and said:
“The Tab should come to Willow and stand by the door, and watch the amount of people who pair off and get taxis home together, and basically have sex in the taxi. We are a randy Uni and we are being misrepresented. These surveys just make us sound boring.”
Tom A-C, a 2nd year Politics student, however, does not think that the University of York is fun, writing on his Facebook: “Why did I ever come to the University of Dork!?”
Ed Reay, a 3rd year Philosophy student and Willow fanatic thinks that the York nightlife is underrated. He commented:
“Even if the physical clubs and bars aren’t fantastic or huge, there’s a great variety of small, quirky ones, and I like that pretty much everyone in any given club is a student. It’s small but fantastic fun.”
We all know that size isn’t everything. Do you think that York should be put on more surveys? Do you want your views heard? Do you think that we are treated unfairly by the national press? Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org