The University of Stirling has come under extreme scrutiny after claims the accommodations are charging students for bed sheets.
The allegations come after a nine per cent increase in rent for University accommodation.
When asked for a comment regarding rent increases, a spokesperson for the University of Stirling referenced a previous comment issued and said: “All university-managed accommodation includes energy bills, high-quality internet access and contents insurance within the rental fee.
“The rent levels for the 2023/24 academic year include a rent freeze on 15% of our university-managed accommodation and a variable below inflation increase across the remainder of properties.
“These increases reflect inflationary pressures and rising operating costs – including utilities, staffing and maintenance costs.”
Stirling Solidarity Space first shared the allegations about bedsheets in an Instagram story on Friday, September 1, which was reposted by Justine Pedussel, the Union’s housing officer.
It has been confirmed that the University of Stirling will be adding a bedding pack option for students staying in university-managed accommodation.
The University had previously provided bedding packs as standard, but will now be charging £34 for a single bedding pack, or £52 for a double bedding pack.
They will include 1 single or double duvet and 2 covers; 1 or 2 pillows depending on pack size and spare covers; and 2 fitted sheets.
Justine Pedussel was approached for comment and said: “After an increase in rent for university accommodation of up to 9%, the university has subtly added even more expense for students.
“The university has exacerbated a housing crisis through a higher rate of student intake without adding more housing, and now removing some accommodation, such as Muirhead, as a possibility to live in. We are in a cost-of-living crisis.
“Rather than supporting and accommodating student needs during this crisis, they are pushing students further into poverty through the rent increases. This extra bedding expense demonstrates little regard, nor understanding, for student welfare.
“Whether they like it or not it will affect students. [It will] disproportionately affect international students, poorer students, and those who are unaware of this extra cost, as there has not been any official announcement regarding this.
“I have been contacted by numerous students both informing me of the new cost of bedding and urging me to take this up with the University.”
Her statement comes following a meeting with the Heads of Accommodation Services on Tuesday, September 5.
Regarding the bedsheet charges, a spokesperson for the University said: “As part of our mission to improve sustainability and reduce waste, the University no longer automatically provides bedding packs to all students living in our accommodation.
“Instead, students can purchase bedding packs at a cost rate, should they be required.
“This decision was taken following discussions with partners, including the Students’ Union, and is intended to reduce the amount of unwanted bedding that is discarded by students.”
In a statement shared with Brig Newspaper, Stirling Solidarity Space said: “The University of Stirling has added insult to injury – the provision of bedding is a small, simple act that shows the University cares about the students in its accommodation.
“As such, it is hardly a surprise that they have made this decision. Through an unjustified rent increase, mould-ridden flats, and now this insult, it is clear – the University does not care about students.
“We would urge the University to change all of these callous policies and once again listen to the hundreds of students who have opposed the rent increase.
“The VP Communities, and the Union as a whole, will have our full support in opposing the University on this.”
After a discussion with accommodation services, it was announced on an Instagram story that there would be a limited and unspecified amount of free recycled bedding packs available for students moving into accommodation.
Featured Image Credit: University of Stirling