It’s week three and most students have settled into a routine of LCRs, Unio coffee and 9am seminars. With most living on campus, myself included, firmly established in their rooms (of course the fairy lights came out for a fourth year running), it is disappointing that an upcoming SU proposal would put students in danger of eviction and even pose a risk to their course places.
While you can’t discount the success of the UCL rent strikes, UEA accommodation simply isn’t affected by the same pressing problems that warranted such extreme action. Student rents across the country have risen, so it’s understandable that each year sees a rise in price for living on campus. Yet what sets UEA apart from UCL is that it has consistently won awards, not only for services provided, but for price. Just last year it was named the sixth best in the country for value for money. As lovely as it would be to not pay rent, there doesn’t seem to be any legitimate reason for such a hard-line proposal. The need for a rent strike seems much less immediate at UEA than it was at UCL, and you wonder how many students were consulted before the decision was put to paper.
The proposal will be formally announced next Monday, before the final decision is made at union council next week. You can find all the latest news from union council on our Twitter page (@Concrete_UEA) where our union representative, Deputy Editor Jessica Frank-Keyes, will be live tweeting the meeting next Thursday.
It appears it’s been a week of bad ideas, particularly for Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, whose higher education and immigration law proposals have been roundly condemned by the university sector (p.3). With the media likening her speech to sections of ‘Mein Kampf’, she seems to be deliberately creating an atmosphere of fear and distrust. We spoke to UEA Vice-Chancellor, David Richardson, who emphasized the contribution our international students bring, both financial and cultural. Quite simply, UEA would not be the same without the vibrantly diverse international community that calls this university home, and it’s good to see David Richardson showing his support for students who might be worried about what this could mean for them. UEA will remain United, despite Brexit, and despite politicians who seem determined to prove otherwise.
But despite remaining a united front, what makes our university special is that it is a place of debate and an open forum for students to express their views, whether or not we agree with them. The Concrete comment section has always been a platform for students to express their opinions and engage in a lively debate about controversial topics. This week UEA Catholic Chaplain, Andrew Eburne wrote a rebuttal to ‘Playing Devil’s Advocate’, which scrutinized the canonisation of Mother Theresa (p.16). Let us know where you fall in the argument either online, or on Twitter.
From the Rosetta space probe (p.18) to our beloved Cloud Dog (p.5) it’s been a week of farewells. But, as the leaves change to a new colour, and as a new baby cloud dog gets ready to grace our campus it’s important to stay motivated and upbeat. If you’re already looking for vacation ideas, our Travel section (p.20-21) has some great ideas on how to escape the Norfolk grey and chase some blue skies. Our features team also have some great tips to keep you motivated as the nights get longer and darker, including an interview with Olympic silver medallist, Becky Page. If you thought balancing the LCR and studying was bad enough, find out how she managed to do it all alongside her training.
This issue was put together thanks to our great new team of writers: over 100 new members were recruited during Freshers’ week, and with over 120 of you coming along to our Big Meet, the entire editorial team are excited to see what this year brings.
If you didn’t quite manage to find us during the madness of SocMart, make sure to find our Concrete members page on Facebook: there are still plenty of ways to get involved, and plenty more issues to write for.
See you in a fortnight!