Residents of East Slope have suffered from a lack of heating and hot water for the second time in a matter of months.
Since January 26, residents have suffered a complete loss of heating and hot water. The housing team informed tenants that a gas pipe had been damaged by contractors and could take up to a week to fix.
Bod Kelly, a student and resident of East Slope, said: “Because East Slope gets demolished, we have to live with it”.
During these cold months, and without heating, it has been a struggle for residents to keep warm and frustration is evident.
Whilst this is not an ideal situation, Sussex Estates and Facilities (SEF) provided alternative arrangements i.e. food vouchers for Eat Central and shower facilities on campus.
One source, a resident of East Slope, said that the provisions were inadequate and claimed that the alternative shower facilities were not working.
A university spokesperson has said: “On Thursday 26 January 2017, the University was advised that a gas main had been damaged, resulting in the loss of heating or hot water on a part of the campus.
“Since then, colleagues [from SEF], who are responsible for the daily operation of the residences … have been working around the clock … to attend and repair the problem safely.
“Affected East Slope residents have been offered alternative accommodation provision, portable heaters and showering facilities… compensation will be issued to those affected via their Sussex Direct account.”
Although accidents happen, some feel as if SEF let them down, again. In late 2016, there was a complete loss of water following pipe damage.
Thankfully, most residents had running water within a few days. For some, however, the situation lasted up to a week.
Grainne Gahan, Welfare Officer for the Students’ Union, said: “It is vital that the university are providing affordable, safe, and comfortable accommodation for all students, and that they are responding to student complaints and concerns as quickly as they can.”
“Students should not be having to ask twice for their hot water and heating to be sorted out!”
“It is important that, as they develop the campus, the university are giving priority to cheaper housing on campus, so that Higher Education remains accessible to people from all backgrounds, instead of focusing on the more expensive luxury accommodation, that few can afford.”
A member of ‘Cut the Rent’ (A campaign aimed at decreasing rent for Sussex students) compared the university and SEF to greedy businesses, with the goal of profit making rather than educating or housing.
The campaigner also mentioned the effectiveness of rent strikes, stating that Cut the Rent has a good number of students and residents committed to boycott their rent, should circumstances call for it.
At the time of going to print, East Slope residences were still affected by the loss of facilities. One student suspects they have contracted a cold due to the conditions.
SEF hopes that the problem will be fixed as soon as possible.