Embarrassing climbdown for Christ’s

Anna Croall 18 October 2007

An administrative blunder by Christ’s College accommodation office caused sixty-seven students to come close to being ripped off by more than £100 each.

Christ’s students living in Anastasia House – a hostel 15 minutes’ walk from the main site – have now been given the £110 termly rent discount that their college promised them all along.

Because of room refurbishments, half of Christ’s second year – usually accommodated in college or on nearby Jesus Lane – have been put into Anastasia House.

The infamous Christ’s “typewriter” building, which normally houses most of the college’s first years, is now out of action for all of this academic year.

When current second year students found out that some of them would be forced out from the normal college accommodation by first years, their JCR told them that they would have a tidy £110 a term knocked off their college bills to make up for all the hassle.

At the start of this term, students were shocked that their bills did not include the full discount they had been expecting.

The bursar initially blamed the rent price confusion on “a document, not produced by the college”, saying that the rates it provided were “incorrect”.

Students maintained that the JCR’s figures had come straight from the college, with some informally threatening to rent-strike.

As student complaints piled up, Christ’s accommodation officers trawled through their records trying to sort out who exactly had said what.

When they eventually recovered all the key paperwork with the help of a student petition, they realised that the JCR’s rent figures came from a lost document produced by a former employee.

As soon as they found out the mistake was theirs, and not the JCR’s, they issued revised bills and refunds to all students affected.

Matthew Owen, Christ’s JCR first year representative, was quick to praise the college’s handling of the situation.

He said that “the college took our views seriously”, adding that students “are very satisfied with the outcome”.

Payne was willing to own up to “an unfortunate error” on the college’s part, but pointed out that the difficulties was sorted very quickly. He also conceded that difficulties with Anastasia House internet facilities – described by one resident as “complete crap” – are ongoing.

This is second embarrassing error from Christ’s accommodation office reported by The Cambridge Student so far this term. The college had to perform an emergency room reshuffle after accidentally double-booking one student’s room.

An administrative blunder by Christ’s College accommodation office caused sixty-seven students to come close to being ripped off by more than £100 each.

Christ’s students living in Anastasia House – a hostel 15 minutes’ walk from the main site – have now been given the £110 termly rent discount that their college promised them all along.

Because of room refurbishments, half of Christ’s second year – usually accommodated in college or on nearby Jesus Lane – have been put into Anastasia House.

The infamous Christ’s “typewriter” building, which normally houses most of the college’s first years, is now out of action for all of this academic year.

When current second year students found out that some of them would be forced out from the normal college accommodation by first years, their JCR told them that they would have a tidy £110 a term knocked off their college bills to make up for all the hassle.

At the start of this term, students were shocked that their bills did not include the full discount they had been expecting.

The bursar initially blamed the rent price confusion on “a document, not produced by the college”, saying that the rates it provided were “incorrect”.

Students maintained that the JCR’s figures had come straight from the college, with some informally threatening to rent-strike.

As student complaints piled up, Christ’s accommodation officers trawled through their records trying to sort out who exactly had said what.

When they eventually recovered all the key paperwork with the help of a student petition, they realised that the JCR’s rent figures came from a lost document produced by a former employee.

As soon as they found out the mistake was theirs, and not the JCR’s, they issued revised bills and refunds to all students affected.

Matthew Owen, Christ’s JCR first year representative, was quick to praise the college’s handling of the situation.

He said that “the college took our views seriously”, adding that students “are very satisfied with the outcome”.

Payne was willing to own up to “an unfortunate error” on the college’s part, but pointed out that the difficulties was sorted very quickly. He also conceded that difficulties with Anastasia House internet facilities – described by one resident as “complete crap” – are ongoing.

This is second embarrassing error from Christ’s accommodation office reported by The Cambridge Student so far this term. The college had to perform an emergency room reshuffle after accidentally double-booking one student’s room.

Anna Croall