Accommodation in St Antony’s is in such poor quality that it is threatening the health of its residents, according to one student.
After three years living in a room which became gradually mouldier, a DPhil candidate at St Antony’s college was forced to evacuate the accommodation on August 8 and is seeking medical treatment following painful symptoms in the skin and respiratory system.
The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims to have endured three years living in a room with spreading mould on a wall, water leakages and faulty windows. This continued despite multiple maintenance requests and complaints to college staff with supporting photos. Although the first report was made in October 2013 and a series of emails were exchanged in an attempt to solve the problem of the broken window, the student explained that no effective action had been taken.
The DPhil student has recently written a letter of complaint to the college which alleges a number of breaches of the accommodation agreement. Their contaminated room on Woodstock road was classed as grade B on St Antony’s price categories which range from A+ to D, costing the student £130.06 per week.
Other residents have also noted large patches of mould in a bathroom, and a group of students were given a rent discount last year after finding that they had not been informed of the construction work for the new Middle East Centre next door.
“Mould can become a serious problem because of the health risks associated with mould spores,” the student told Cherwell. “This whole situation is causing me to spend a lot of time seeking medical treatments, bringing the complaints to the college, and looking into seeking help externally. All of this is an impediment to my academic progress and performance.” Commenting on the piece of wood which served to keep the broken window open, they added, “People can hardly believe these incidents would happen in a college at Oxford University.”
St Antony’s warden Margaret MacMillan responded in a statement that she was aware of the issue, assuring that it had been taken very seriously by the college. She added that college staff are working with the student to help manage the consequences.
St Antony’s GCR president Azfar Anwar have been contacted for comment.