Maggie Chapman, the new rector of Aberdeen University and the co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, has called for more to be done to protect students from rogue landlords.
Speaking after her induction ceremony, she told the Aberdeen Press & Journal that the shortage of student accommodation will be the main focus of her three-year tenure.
“It’s a huge honour and a huge privilege to be in this role, a role that I see as being really important, especially at the moment given the challenges and issues that are facing students and higher education, facing education generally across Scotland and the UK.
“I see my role as being principally one of advocacy for students, making sure that their issues and their concerns are heard by the top table – the top of the university.
“One of the main priorities has to be to tackle housing, to tackle student accommodation. Both accommodation that is owned and run by the university but also accommodation that is provided more generally by the city as a whole, private landlords and others.
“We saw last September, new students coming to Aberdeen for the first time and coming to Scotland for the first time and being put up in hostels, being put up in bed and breakfasts, being put up in hotels, being put up in halls – that’s not acceptable.”
Ms Chapman told the Aberdeen Press & Journal that accommodation was very important for students, and could have a “huge” impact on their ability to study well and complete their degrees.
Ms Chapman added:
“I think there is work to be done around something like a landlord’s charter or landlord’s accreditation scheme so we can make sure there are students who don’t have the problem of rogue landlords leaving them without windows or without functioning toilets – those are just two issues that I know students are facing now in some of the private lets in the city.”
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) March 27, 2015