GLASGOW UNIVERSITY has come under fire after attempting to evict a group of students from its halls of residency during the coronavirus pandemic - which they claim is through “no fault” of their own.  

The 12 students who live in one flat at Murano Street Student Village are fighting the potential eviction while they also face a £1200 fine for damages caused to their property. 

It comes after a spate of “traumatic” events where residents claim their door was kicked in with their flat broken into several times by revellers attending separate parties at the student complex.  

Glasgow Times:

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In one alleged disturbance believed to be attended by around 30 people, police locked the university grounds down and arrested four men - two aged 18 and two aged 19 – in connection to the incident.  

Meanwhile, an investigation is currently underway by Police Scotland into a report of a sexual assault near the complex.  

The students have blasted the university’s “failed” security teams and a faulty door for the violence and damages caused to their flat.  

Glasgow Times:

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Ryan MacDonald, who lives at the property, said: “We have warned that the security of the flat is below standard and they haven’t taken what we are saying on-board. There has been a complete lack of empathy for us, and we’ve had our flat almost broken into on multiple occasions. 

“The doors can so easily just be booted in and I don’t know why ours has been targeted so much. It is sheer unluck that our flat is repeatedly targeted by exterior parties. We warned them that our front door doesn’t work which has basically caused these problems. There has been a complete lack of support. 

“We are under the eviction notice that if something else happens again, then we will be chucked out. We’re on edge and walking on eggshells scared in case the same thing happens again." 

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: "We raised the alarm that our flat was being bombarded and our door was being kicked in and it took security 15 minutes to get here.  

“I would say that we were initially failed by security at the residency but after we told the university what was going on and about these traumatic events, they ignored us. There has been a complete lack of empathy and ignorance from the university on the basis of what we have been telling them. 

“We’ve had no apology, empathy or admission of guilt on their part. At this point, it is a constant worry, we are on edge thinking, when will something bad happen again? 

“We were told that there would be new doors installed but not until the next year. This isn’t really an instance for next year it is an instance for now." 

Glasgow Times:

In email correspondence seen by the Glasgow Times, a Glasgow University official suggested that the flat had kept their door unlocked on "several occasions" while he did "not accept the claim that security is inadequate".  

The university has since reversed its decision to evict the 12 students and has, instead, placed them on a 28-day probation - meaning if they breach their contract again, they risk being kicked out of halls and potentially the university.  

Another flatmate, who wished not to be named, said: “There are people in our flat from other countries so for them to be evicted during a pandemic is so irresponsible. 

"If there was actually something that we had done wrong or something that was our fault, then we would put our hands up and take the blame. It would be understandable. 

“We feel like we have been failed by the university and its security team during this crisis." 

He added: “The main thing is that we have each other. That was the main point of the eviction, how can they just split 12 of us up during a pandemic? Where were we meant to go? We have hit a tipping point.” 

Glasgow Times:

Aamer Anwar, who is the university’s former rector, said he was aware of the allegations made by the students, describing them as a "horrific dereliction of the duty of care". 

He said: “The allegations made to me accuse the university of a horrific dereliction of the duty of care. 

"If you choose to take money of students, to house them in halls in the midst of a pandemic, then the very least they are entitled to is security. 

"Glasgow University must rescind the threat of evictions and answer for what has gone wrong - it’s all very well making a profit during a pandemic, but treating students as ‘cash cows’, threatening them, leaving them at risk certainly is not what they signed up for.” 

Meanwhile, Glasgow University’s Student’s Tenants union said that they were investigating the claims. 

Glasgow Times:

A spokesman said:  “The university’s response to the mistreatment of students in halls unfortunately follows in much the same vein as their handling of this case.  

“Their refusal to even acknowledge these issues - let alone investigate what are historic and systemic issues in halls – and their insistence on these matters being dealt with internally clearly show the faults of the internal processes of the university as an institution.  

“Student voices are outnumbered and systematically silenced on arcane university courts and committees. 

“The inexcusable behaviour and the avoidance of responsibility in the face of gross negligence by university management shows that they represent their interests first, and those of students second. 

“Until these broken institutional processes are addressed, the exploitation and institutional violence perpetrated by the university on its students will continue unchecked.  

“Students did not come to university to be intimidated, gaslit, and undercut by the very institution that has a duty of care towards them.” 

Glasgow Times:

A Glasgow University spokesman said: “We have a duty to protect everyone in our residences and cannot tolerate behaviour that endangers the safety of others. 

"We asked the students in the flat in question to leave after multiple Covid breaches and significant damage to university property, for which no reasonable explanation was offered. 

“The university met with those involved multiple times to discuss concerns and agreed that, on the understanding that there are no further significant incidents, the eviction notice will expire after 28 days and we will take no further action at this time. 

"We have always made clear that support is available for all students through our health, wellbeing and welfare services. We have a living support team at each of our residences, students may contact our security team for help directly via our Safezone app. 

"We urge anyone who has experienced incidents of harassment or bullying to report them via our online report and support systems. 

“We understand this has been a very difficult year, particularly for those living in university residences. To assist, over the course of this year, we have rolled out a programme of financial and wellbeing support, as well as an enhanced investment programme for refurbishments of accommodation, totalling of £4.5 million.”