£3.4 million was spent by the University of York on repairs to Central Hall in 2018 alone, data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows.
This is despite the fact that the University gave Open Door and Disability Services £521,000 in the same year, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Open Door’s web page states that it is a team of Mental Health Practitioners providing support to registered students experiencing psychological or mental health difficulties.
A University spokesperson told York Vision: “This was essential repair, electrical and fire safety work, necessary to comply with regulations of a listed building. It was a substantial part of our programme of work, which took over two years, and allowed us to keep the Hall open for events such as graduation. Much of our campus dates back to the 1960s, so we have programmes of repair as well as improving and developing new teaching and learning facilities.”
“We’d like to stress that when looking at investment priorities for the University, we work hard to ensure that we strike the right balance for our wide-ranging commitments. We remain determined to support students with their emotional and mental wellbeing.”
Disability Services arranges academic support and adjustments for students with a disability or long-term health condition.
Rowan Casey, one of YUSU’s Disabled Students’ Officers told Vision: “I think it speaks volumes that the spending for Disability Services is so much lower than the spending to the repairs to Central Hall.
“Whilst I accept the listed repairs are necessary and expensive, I remember that half of Disability Services and Open Door building is inaccessible to wheelchair users, that I have personally had to tell staff that the emergency cord should not be tied up and that the number of staff is insufficient.”