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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Editorial 5 Issue 1297

Students not entirely happy with a number of things

In an unprecedented manoeuvre that organisers say has astounded "a heck of a lot of people," students at the University of Birmingham have decided to express their dissatisfaction with the service they are receiving at their chosen institute of education.

It is believed that the group had long been thinking about the act, but it was only at 3.37 pm on Tuesday that they finally decided to go ahead with it. It is estimated that around 637 oral complaints were registered in the next thirty minutes alone.

This is the latest in a spate of such incidents, as students begin setting an example for future generations of complainers who wish to follow their brave steps.

Students on and around the University campus have been taking the opportunity to whinge and moan about a number of different topics, including the standard of accommodation in which they reside, their courses and their financial situation.

One commented, "It's been so great to see so many people joining together and taking advantage of the fact that we can complain as much as we like. There is so much to whine about here though; I don't know if we're going to be able to get through it all in the three short years we have!"

Students have been particularly annoyed about accommodation at Birmingham. A group of freshers was forced, against their will, to stay in a hotel at no expense whatsoever to themselves, at the start of term. This shocking outrage caused uproar throughout university circles.

"It's just disgusting," declared one first-year. "To have to stay in a hotel instead of halls of residence – it's a disgrace."

Other sources of unhappiness are the fact that one catered hall does not contain any ovens and that halls which were not advertised as having the internet do not have the internet.

"I'm really annoyed that I have to, like, pay money for my accommodation," commented Chantilly Soure (Media Society and Textiles Studies I). "Considering the standards at Birmingham, I think it should be free, or, like, they should be paying us to live here. I mean, like I know we have hot meals all week, central heating, bathrooms and good-sized rooms with a great social atmosphere, but it's just not enough."

Another echoed Chantilly's all too valid comments: "You see all these African villages and things on the news and you think you'll never have to live in the same kind of deprivation here. But since I've got to Birmingham, I've realised that social injustice isn't just found in the third world. It's here at Edgbaston too."

Students have also been protesting at how difficult it is to live on a student budget. It has been reported that some are being forced to go without necessities such as iPods and designer clothing in order not to exceed their overdrafts. Amnesty International is rumoured to be investigating the situation to see if the Student Loans Company is guilty of human rights violation.

"I'm not asking for Jimmy Choos and Chloe – well, not unless I've got Daddy's card," said Annabel Parker-Digby, from Buckinghamshire. "But I do think it is a little unreasonable to expect us to go without the weekly shopping trip. I mean, that's why a lot of us came to Birmingham – the Bullring is just sooo convenient."

Other students have been shocked that they are expected to pay for alcohol and food out of their student loans. "No one told me," grumbled one rugby player who wished to remain anonymous.

It is as yet unknown what the University plans to do in reaction to this totally unexpected barrage of complaints. Experts are expected to confirm later this week that this new phenomena of student life – dissatisfaction with, well, everything – is affecting universities other than Birmingham, up and down the country. It remains to be seen whether it can be stopped.



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