University of Glasgow blasted over ‘unsustainable increases in student numbers’ and accommodation issues

The University of Glasgow will consider advising some students to pause their studies for a year due to accommodation shortages as a lecturer criticised the institution over “unsustainable increases in student numbers.

A University of Glasgow lecturer has blasted the institution over ‘unsustainable increases in student numbers’. Alister Wedderburn, a lecturer in international relations, tweeted that a second year student had been advised to ‘withdraw altogether from their studies’ because of issues with accommodation.

We revealed last month that students who live within commuting distance of the university had been told that they would not be getting accommodation, while those who would be travelling longer distances had been informed that was no guarentee they would automatically get accommodation.

The University blamed the decision on ‘significant contraction’ in the private rental market, and noted that it had increased the number of rooms available by 25 per cent for the new year.

The University of Glasgow.

However, Professor Wedderburn tweeted: “The University of Glasgow is pursuing such unsustainable increases in student numbers that many students are without accommodation as term starts.

“One 2nd yr has just forwarded me an email from the Uni advising them to withdraw altogether from their studies. This is a scandal.”

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Responding to another Twitter user, who claimed their was a lack of help for students attempting to secure accommodation, he posted: “The university's advice is i) don't come to Glasgow until you find somewhere to live (which is almost impossible to do remotely, and most classes are in-person anyway) ii) suspend your studies, or iii) just leave and don't come back. Appalling.”

Professor Wedderburn is not the first to raise concerns about the University’s approach.

Last month the Students’ Representative Council for the university argued that the institution had ‘over-recruited’ and offered support to students.

It posted on social media: “The SRC is aware of the issues leading up to this point and we would like to express our disappointment at the University’s approach.

“After the accommodation crisis across Glasgow last year, the SRC lobbied the University to commit to a moratorium on student numbers, despite this it now seems that over-recruitment has contributed to the creation of a similar situation.

“We understand that many of you will be upset and disappointed, and as the representatives of all students at the University, we share those feelings.

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“We will continue to work to encourage the University to take a stronger approach to managing student numbers and work to mitigate the impact of what is a UK wide housing issue with many contributing factors.”

A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “Regrettably, due to a significant contraction in the private rental market, demand for rooms continues to be substantially ahead of expectation both in Glasgow and more broadly across the UK. Like most urban universities, we cannot guarantee accommodation for returning students.

“As part of our efforts to address the issue, we have increased the number of rooms under University management by 25 per cent for this academic year. We have focused – as is our usual policy – on providing accommodation to first-year undergraduate students who live at a significant distance from our campus. There has been no significant increase in student numbers for this year.

“To address issues with the availability of accommodation within Glasgow, we are already taking steps to increase accommodation provision for future years and we are continuing to engage with private providers and with local government on issues with the city’s private rental market.

“We understand the concern students have about finding accommodation for the new semester, and we are taking a number of actions to support our students and ensure continuity of learning wherever possible. In some cases, our advice may include pausing studies for this academic year while ensuring students continue to have access to University systems and services. Comprehensive advice is available from students’ advisers of study and the Students’ Representative Council Advice Centre.”