LMH students left without rooms

A delay in building at Lady Margaret Hall means over 40 undergraduates promised a place in a new college accommodation block will be forced to live out next term.

The college administration this week announced that it would help students find and pay for houses in North Oxford. JCR President Sourav Choudhury said the policy would result in “a substantial loss” for LMH.

The college had originally said that every second-year student would be provided a place in halls, and told the JCR to cancel their annual room ballot.

“Naturally students have shown concern, but they’ve been kept in the loop”, Choudhury said. “The Bursar is consulting individually with students to find houses that meet their needs.”

Jake Leeper, Vice President of the JCR, praised LMH staff, saying “considering that college did not have to offer the scheme I think that they’ve been excellent in working with students. Our domestic bursar has even begun to view houses with students so that he has a good idea of the type of houses students would prefer to live in.”

“I have been in regular contact with the administration staff since and think that by both sides realising the difficulties and unfortunate nature of the situation we’ve been able to come up with very good solutions.”

Both Leeper and Choudhury expressed approval of the college’s reaction to the delay. “We found out on Tuesday of 0th week that the building works scheduled to be ready by July were not going to be ready by the start of Michaelmas term. The next day, on Wednesday of 0th, we had an emergency accommodation meeting with college staff to discuss what we should do,” said Leeper.

Under the new agreement, LMH will subsidise students forced to live out next term a £300 subsidy. Those who live out for an entire year will receive £500.

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Choudhury said 20 of the students due to live in the new accommodation block would still be able to remain in college after administrators agreed to suspend a refurbishment of LMH’s Victorian graduate housing.

He said that he felt blame should be evenly divided between those involved. “At this point it would be imprudent just to blame contractors. This is something that needs to be looked into in depth later.”

However, he added that he hoped the college might be able to obtain a refund from some of those involved in building. “Hopefully we can get some money back from contractors”.

The delay follows complaints over the level of noise coming from the building site at LMH, which bursar Bart Ashton last week apologised for.

He refused to comment on the latest developments.