Another University term, another accommodation nightmare.
The University of Nottingham operates an antiquated system whereby students living in Halls of Residence on Jubilee Campus — the newest and most modern halls — are required to pack up all of their possessions and vacate their rooms for the duration of University holidays.
This is so that the for-profit Nottingham Hospitality organisation, responsible for catering and accommodation, uses the idea that students do not have lectures during this time to fill the Halls up with corporate conference delegates paying extraordinary amounts of money. Other Universities in the UK have stopped this practice as it is a major inconvenience to students, and in the long-term Nottingham is allegedly planning to abolish it too.
For now, though, student residents on Jubilee Campus have problems. Traditionally, lack of communication has rendered it very difficult to find any information on returning to halls after a holiday. Although I have been at the University for several years and know how it works, first year students don't necessarily know what they need to bring with them and when and it's near impossible to find out. This has always been an issue at Nottingham.
Still, usually the last conference will have left the premises by the weekend, giving the cleaning staff time to prepare the Hall for its actual residents to move back in just in time for term time and the summer examination period to begin.
This time around, however, as students are preparing to return to halls on Sunday, we are moving in on the day that a conference ends. Although in March we were all sternly warned that we would not be able to return before 10am on Sunday 19th April, it has been deduced on the phone today that in fact a conference leaves at 10am, and the cleaning staff won't be done until 2pm.
So not only can students not move into their own halls of residence until mid-afternoon on the day before the examination term, but as far as we can tell the Hall never bothered to actually release this change of timing. For the 40% of the population that makes up the international student population, travelling from the States, India, China or as far away as Australia, these sort of "small" timing details are crucial. The window of opportunity for students to arrive, get themselves set up in their University rooms and prepare for exams is now so pathetically small (five hours of daylight!) that it's just pissing all over the international students who bring in the vast majority of fees for the University.
It's epicly ridiculous that a conference would be staying in halls so late, and it just goes to show that students are really not the priority as long as they are paying slightly less than corporate delegates. Sure, a business has to maximise profits, but since students have no-where else to go this is really taking advantage of a monopoly position.
Until the University of Nottingham decides to terminate this silly policy of throwing its fee-paying students out on the streets for weeks at a time during the year and treating them as lowest-class citizens whilst at it, I wouldn't recommend it as a place to study.