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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 2 4 March 1970

Pull Finger on Accomodation

Pull Finger on Accomodation

The news of strong Council backing for blocks of student flats will be welcomed in student circles even though the Ambassador Flats proposal has fallen through. But the implications of the specific proposals discussed at the February meeting of the University Council deserve closer scrutiny.

Students have for some time argued the need for low rental flats, preferably in the form of a student village complex in which groups of male and groups of female students can form small communities—preferably with a few members of staff and their families.

This is not to decry the investigation by the Women Students Hostel Society of the possibility of converting the Ambassador Flats into an annex of Victoria House. Nor is it a criticism of the strong university backing for such proposals. But to call this type of proposal an experiment in University-backed student flats was somewhat unrealistic.

The proposal was for 20 women students, in groups of three to five, to occupy 6 self-contained flats at $7 per week, per student. This put the flats beyond the reach of three-quarters of the women students. Worse still it created the precedent for blocks of students flats to be regarded as adjuncts to current University Hostels in which a few senior hostel students could retain their loyalty to what is basically a hostel community.

Equally alarming was the evidence that neither the University Grants Committee nor the Government have yet geared the complex system of subsidies for student accommodation to allow the university to make prompt and confident decisions on options available on suitable properties for student flats.

By all means, support schemes such as the Ambassador Flats proposal. But the time is long overdue for vigorous efforts by the University and the Students Association to work towards complexes of low rental student flats. And this will take more work by Council, and Students' Association representatives on Council, than merely rubber stamping proposals for high rental segregated flats attached to a University Hostel.

Lindsay Wright