University of Glasgow could advise students to pause studies amid accommodation shortage

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”.

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.

It comes as the university said in a statement: “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.”

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It was revealed last month that students who live within commuting distance of the university have been told they would not be getting accommodation. Those who would be travelling longer distances have also been informed there is no guarantee they would automatically get accommodation themselves.

The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451. Picture: Getty Images
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The university has 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.

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.

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

Responding to another Twitter user, who claimed there was a lack of help for students attempting to secure accommodation, Prof Wedderburn 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.”

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The academic is not the first to raise concerns about the university’s approach. Last month the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) for the university argued the institution had “over-recruited” and offered support to students.

The council posted on social media: “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.”

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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.”

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