The University of St Andrews has said that it stands “foursquare” with its students over claims that their views are being ignored by Fife Council over the HMO issue.
More than 1800 people have signed a petition to remove the HMO moratorium in St Andrews.
The move comes after councillors on the Fife Council North East Fife Area Committee voted to impose strict quotas on the number of houses in multiple occupancy (HMOs) in the town.
What sort of model of democracy is that?
A spokesperson for the University of St Andrews said, “The University stands foursquare with our students. They have not only been treated shamefully by some individual councillors, but appear to have been denied the right to speak at the Fife Council committee, while other local residents were invited to be heard.
“What sort of model of democracy is that? The Council has taken a decision while ignoring the views of half of the people who live in St Andrews. By any standards, that is bad government.
“Students have been residents of St Andrews for over six centuries and are integral to the town’s prosperity and the fabric of this community. It is time for a new model of representation which ensures elected representatives are accountable to all who live in and contribute to the town, not just a vocal minority.”
The University also said that it was investigating ways to allow new students to register to vote when they matriculate.
truly my home
Association President Lewis Wood said, “Sentiment amongst community councillors and various other members of the community make this issue feel like a battleground, with students on one side and locals on the other. I refuse to accept any such lines.
“When students choose to relocate to St Andrews, they invest in a future here, whether this is for 5 years or for 20. It may be that a large amount of students have a short- term residence here, but residents they are, and in there time here they truly do see themselves as part of the community.
“I moved to St Andrews four years ago now, and I haven’t left for more than three weeks since. It truly is my home, and I like to think that I contribute just as much to it as it has to me. This is the case for a great number of my peers, all of whom value being part of such a unique town.”