A large number of UniLodge and Bruce Hall residents are furious after a significant number of returner applications were denied on Wednesday.
Speaking to a packed Kinloch Lodge common room during an emergency general meeting on Wednesday night, the president of UniLodge, Lewis Laverty Wilson, said 42 per cent of students who currently had residency had to clear out to make way for first year students in 2018.
Taking into account those who chose to leave, that meant that around 550 students who submitted an application to return in 2018 were unsuccessful.
Wilson said that despite meeting with the UniLodge general manager, Peter Warrington, only limited information was supplied. ‘We don’t really have the answer… we had a meeting with Pete today, but it was very short,’ Wilson said.
Wilson alleges that UniLodge failed to take preemptive action. While college administrations from Fenner Hall and Burton & Garran Hall sent out warning emails encouraging students to withdraw their applications if they intended to move off student accommodation, UniLodge did not.
According to Wilson, Warrington met with him two months ago and said that the lay-off of current student residents would not be any larger than it had been in previous years.
Last year approximately 25 per cent of residents either chose to leave UniLodge or had their returner applications rejected.
After the residents were notified of their status for 2018 by email, many students shared their frustrations with the process.
‘The worst part is that there is no explanation for why people are accepted or declined, and no appeals process. Nobody knows what qualifies someone to return, or depart,’ one student told Woroni.
Wilson told residents at the meeting that returner applications were reviewed by Peter Warrington, along with the residential life manager and the assistant general manager. To determine who is let in the following year, UniLodge administration uses Star Res, a system that records when students breach their occupancy agreement by letting off fire alarms, smoking, causing noise complaints or damaging property.
The administration also examined how much effort had been put into the applications, and whether it was submitted on time.
However, many students have criticised this process, arguing that many who have significantly contributed to student life at UniLodge had missed out on readmission.
‘I’ve got an SR interview tomorrow but I haven’t got a readmission into Lodge – I’m good enough to be a senior resident, but I’m not good enough to be a resident,’ one student complained.
Wilson added that the process hurt UniLodge’s culture, and meant that they had to ‘rebuild next year because there’s no continuity’.
Residents at Bruce Hall have had a similar reaction since returner application results came out on Wednesday.
Despite being asked, the ANU did not supply information on the rates of successful applications at Bruce Hall.
There were complaints that many active residents involved with the community were still rejected.
In a statement, the ANU said that UniLodge returner rates for 2018 ‘were projected to be consistent with the other ANU halls.’
‘ANU guarantees accommodation for all first year students from outside the ACT and demand for accommodation remains high. However, strong demand for accommodation means ANU is unable to offer accommodation for all students seeking to live on campus
‘ANU student residents are aware that they need to reapply for accommodation before the end of each year. The reapplication process is consistent across all ANU halls and colleges.’
The ANU will be offering sessions with real estate agents to residents in the coming weeks.