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February 28, 2005 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Another EdPAC Hostel Unprepared for Students

Problems with another EdPAC-run student hostel surfaced last week, this time affecting residents at the St George Annex. Complaints were laid with VUWSA and the Student Accommodation Service after students found that the hostel was not ready for their arrival.

Although the hostel handbook states that St George “offers residents excellent self-catering and catering facilities”, students arrived at the hostel to discover that the only cooking facility available was a kettle. A microwave was installed three days later.

One student told Salient that she was “living on stuff Mum sent down” and had to buy an electric frying pan at her own expense so she could cook. Another student was forced to buy her own fridge, as the medium-sized one provided by EdPAC was shared by twelve other people.

Furthermore, only one Residential Assistant has been hired to supervise 39 people full time. Residents were expected to call the RA for assistance when she was off-duty. However, phone lines have yet to be installed in the building.

Students Salient spoke to were upset and angry about the lack of facilities. One student described St George as a “Barbie house” where nothing worked. They were also angry that their complaints were not being listened to by EdPAC management.

EdPAC Managing Director John White said that as the building had only recently been converted from the Massey School of Journalism, “teething problems” were expected. He said that the shortage of accommodation meant that self-catering students had to be accepted before the facilities were ready.

He did, however, accept that the problems were a failure on the part of EdPAC and went on to say that “contingencies” were in place to feed the self-catering students.

The University has entered into negotiations with EdPAC to provide compensation for the self-catering students, and Director of Student Services Ruth Moorhouse assured Salient that the facilities would be “of the standard we require” by this week.

Accommodation Services Manager Nick Merrett said that the problem was the result of “communication issues” with EdPAC, who were unaware that students were not being catered for until last Monday. She said that full kitchen facilities should be completed by today.

VUWSA President Jeremy Greenbrook said that it was “outrageous that hostels are able to advertise a service that they are not able to deliver” and was working with Moorhouse and Merrett to put guidelines in place to prevent it from happening again.

This comes after construction delays at another EdPAC hostel, the Southern Cross, which is currently missing two floors.


About the Author ()

Nicola Kean: feature writer, philanthropist, womanly woman. Nicola is the smallest member of the Salient team, but eats really large pieces of lasagne. Favourites include 80s music, the scent of fresh pine needles and long walks on the beach.

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