New details about the proposed relocation of 150 students who are currently living on the University of York’s Heslington East campus have emerged, giving more of an insight into the proposed measures and works that will be taking place over the next few months.
According to the Directorate of Estates and Campus Services (DECS), the group in charge of the maintenance of the University’s buildings and grounds, the work will be taking a phased approach, meaning that different residents will be asked to move out of their rooms at different times over the next few months. This is due to the size and complexity of the works being done. The DECS has told Vision that the works will span across several months, meaning that it was impossible to be completed across the summer break.
Residents can expect to be moved for four weeks, however this may change due to unforeseen circumstances. The DECS has said that they have factored in the expirations of contracts into their decisions on when to move students out, and as a result “there will be no impact on the contract length as a consequence of this move”.
According to a spokesperson for the DECS, “anyone moving into temporary accommodation as part of this programme of works will receive a rent reduction rebate for the duration of their move”. It is currently unclear how much this rent reduction will come to.
When asked about the way that the University will keep practising social distance during the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesperson for the DECS told us that they have “reminded all residents affected to adhere to social distancing measures during moves. Given the small numbers of people moving at one time we are confident that this should not be an issue. The rooms / blocks that individuals are being moved into have been deep cleaned by our cleaning team well in advance of a resident arriving”.
When asked for comment on this development, Brian Terry, the incoming Activities Officer for YUSU, told us:
“Accommodation’s response fails to address critical concerns of residents.
DECS attempt to imply there’s no other way forward but in their original email they stated that ‘all students are safely occupying [their] residences at present’. As we said in our original email to them, if students were on campus under regular circumstances this would not even be considered – this is taking advantage of the circumstances.
It’s also worth pointing out that residents are being kept in the dark about when they will be moving. I want to ask why does Accommodation feel it’s appropriate to email students a blanket email saying they can be moved at any time? It’s also worth pointing out that students themselves are yet to receive a response from Accommodation. To be generating anxiety in this way during the Covid-19 pandemic fails to consider students’ well being”.
The DECS has said that they will be contacting students affected by the proposed move individually to discuss times and logistics.