An open letter to Victoria University

Dear Professor Guilford,

We are writing today to express the immense disappointment of both ourselves and the wider student population at Victoria on the decision made by the University to reinstate weekly fees for halls of residences from the 29th of April.

With many us being residents at the halls, we can personally recall the initial decision to leave or relocate. There was monumental disruption as we had to uplift ourselves from our homes of the last four weeks with very little notice and in many cases having to fork out for last minute plane flights back to family.

The one saving grace of this time, however, was the decision that the hall of residence fees would be suspended. Residents were under the impression that this suspension would last until we were able to move back into the halls and continue our studies. The news that we must now resume payments - even at a reduced rate - comes as a slap in the face.

Now, thousands of students are being forced to pay up to $150 per week for accommodation services that the University will not even allow us to access. This is utterly unfair and unreasonable, particularly in light of the fact many students are also experiencing job losses and immense financial pressure due to the impacts of Covid-19.

The final issue we ask you to consider is one of timing. As notice of the decision to resume payments was given to students after the close of business yesterday, residents are left with little time to make arrangements to meet this cost. At a time of such economic and social uncertainty, there is no excuse for such a short notice period.

The VicNats are calling on Victoria University of Wellington to immediately withdraw its decision that hall residents must resume fee payment from the 29th of April. We instead ask that all resident fees are suspended until New Zealand enters Level 2 and students are safely able to return to their halls and resume studying at the University.

We stand by the Prime Minister’s call for kindness to all Kiwis and ask you to reflect if this decision meets the threshold. 

Kind regards,

Adam Young

Chair - VicNats