By Robert Preece
With student fees rising to astronomical levels, terrifying letters from Cooper House the moment the smallest payment is late, and charges for overdue books in the LRC reaching £60 or more, you could sometimes be forgiven for feeling as if you’ve stumbled into a money-grabbing business venture rather than a place of learning.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the university is now milking students for car parking fees of up to £80.
First-year students at halls of residence, often pining for home, will regularly invite friends and family from other parts of the country to come and spend a night out partying in Kingston. But if those friends choose to drive and park at the halls, they’re in for a shock.
Grosvenor Facilities Management and KUSCO are the companies in charge of running the halls of residence and parking.
They clamp cars if they are left somewhere that they’re not supposed to be for too long, then charge a hefty release fee.
Guest parking permits must be renewed before 8am the following day or your visitors’ cars risk being clamped.
Asked why the 8am cut-off is so early, one after another KU staff member said: “It’s just the rules.”
However, I defy any member of KUSCO to stand up and say they genuinely believe people aren’t simply getting up after four hours sleep, still way over the limit from the night before, and driving off at 8am, rather than risking a KUSCO fine.
In the time I have been at university I can tell you this does happen – a lot.
It feels like a company meant to be taking care of young students and their visitors is instead playing chicken with their safety for chump change.
KUSCO staff members are seen on patrol checking cars for permits as soon as the clock strikes eight.
Is it really too much to ask for a bit more care and a bit less sharking around our halls of residence?
Or do we have to wait for someone to be seriously injured before we challenge this harsh and dangerous system?