Postgraduate students are refusing to pay the controversial compulsory college fee introduced this academic year.
Stephen Harper, a Masters Electronics student, told Vision, “When I joined the University in 2012 I was told that I would be a member of my college for life.”
Despite choosing to return to York, and Halifax College, to pursue his postgraduate degree Harper was informed he had to pay a £10 membership fee for the privilege.
The college fee is used to pay for social and sporting activities often organised by Junior Common Room Committees adding to the perception of College life as only part of the Undergraduate University experience.
Postgraduate students tend not to get involved in the social activities college membership provides resulting in many feeling as if they are being asked to subsidise the university experience of undergraduates.
Liam O’Connor, another postgraduate student said: I told them I’ve never used any of the facilities the fees are for, so they’ve stopped asking me for it.”
The Academic Registrar, Kate Dodd, refused to allow postgraduate students to be unaffiliated with a college.
Julia Hampshire, Dodd’s PA, said: “Colleges are a really important part of student life at York.”
David Duncan, University Secretary and Registrar, said: “We will evaluate how effective it has been at the end of the year, but the signs so far are that the new arrangements have helped to increase the range of services and support the colleges can provide.”
In response to being told the fee would count as an “unpaid debt” on his student record if he refused to pay up, Harper said: “Oh yeah wow throw the word debt to scare students into paying the bulls**t fee you made up.”
Non-affiliation with a college would be an unprecedented event in the entire history of the University.
The Academic Registrar does not have the authority to change University rules, either on college affiliation or on the membership fee.
Any change of the rules is not known to be being considered by the University.
Harper is yet to pay the fee.