oh blimey....im having a nightmare over uni accommodation

(77 Posts)
RagingDull Fri 24-Aug-12 14:39:30

DS is due to go to university, he is however under the disabilities team due to having several special needs. This would be his 3rd year at uni, he has however been able to study for the first 2 years at home. The 3rd year he has to go to a different uni and live away.

when we went to his DSA assessments, and the disability team met him they suggested that he should NOT go into halls. The reasoning for this they said was the halls would be full of 1st years, who all would want to party and have a full "first year experience" DS is quiet, but friendly, easily distracted, and they said he would be much better off with like minded, quiet, 3rd years who would all need to get their heads down and work toward their finals. They also rightly realised that my DS is very able, despite his disabilities.

i too this on board and understood totally what they were saying - DS agreed and so we began to try to get him accommodation that was just off campus, but with other 3rd years.

accommodation have just phoned DS to say that he has been allocated a room with 1ST YEARS in off campus accommodation.

ive phoned back to say that it totally defeats the object of him going off campus if they are going to stick him in with a bunch of 1st years.....

Now ive had the director of accmmodation services phone me to say he wants him back ON Campus with 1st years where he can "keep an eye on him" -
DS is 20, almost 21. He also says that he gets complaints from parents of other students if he places SN students with their sons/daughters because the inference is that the other students end up responsible for the SN one!!
im shock !!!

DS holds down a job, and has friends, and a girlfriend. he is quiet, does not drink, but is sociable, very able, friendly and does not need this level of "keeping an eye on" - plus i have explained i am not going to drop him at uni and disappear....i will visit weekly and ds knows i will be only a phone call away if he needs help. He is messy, he will need to be reminded to iron his clothes, and ill probably have to chase him a bit to make sure he is keeping his room tidy - ish....but nothing that anyone else will be responsible for!

He does not want to be on campus - having agreed with what the disabilities team told him.....he is now totally fed up and annoyed with me for meddling
the head of accommodatiion says that security have his number and he doesnt want calls about my DS if anything goes wrong hmm

ive tried to explain that the disability team have actually met my son and based their opinion of where he should go on having met with him and talked to him - i now feel totally pissed off wth it all - i feel that the head of accommodation simply wants to drop him where ever there is going to be a gap and where ever he thinks he will get an easier life regardless of my sons needs and abilities.....the disability team will have plenty of input with Ds while he is there but the head of accommodation says they go home at 5pm - and it will be him that steps in if he needs help after that....hmm

the disablity team are telling me one thing
the head of accommodation is telling me another.....

ive phoned them both and got no where - i am now back to square one - ive no idea of any dates he is likely to be going to uni and ive no idea where he is going to be placed.....

ive told them that where he is placed is crucial to his success or failure at uni - i truly believe it will be. All he is going to need is to be with other, quiet, studious and mature students....first year or 3rd year....

it seems its too much to ask though. no idea what to do next tbh and im getting rather stressed - i cant make any arrangements practically either while im in this limbo!

any one with any bright ideas?

Sleepysand Fri 24-Aug-12 14:56:39

I haven't been there, but my son has got disability help at University (albeit minor - for dyslexia) and as a teacher I have helped quite a lot of ex-students with problems. Two things come to mind. One is to go and actually meet - face to face - with the accommodation team, and take your son with you so they can see he is not a liability. The other is to engage with the Student Union Welfare team at the university. I am assuming that you are local to the uni, as he studied from home - honestly face-to-face is more likely to get results. At the end of the day, it is in the interests of the university to get good results.

RagingDull Fri 24-Aug-12 15:00:19

no - not local really at all - its complicated! i thought the whole point of the disability team meeting him was to pass that info on to the accommodation team....
he was meant to be going in 2 weeks! im getting so stressed and fed up with it all.

Margerykemp Fri 24-Aug-12 15:04:58

What is his disability? the accommodation team will not be trained in sen so you may need to directly provide them with info on your son's condition.

Your comments about ironing and room tidying are rather odd. Most students do neither!

Sleepysand Fri 24-Aug-12 15:04:59

The disability team that dealt with my son were lovely but hopelessly inefficient and seemed to act as a stand-alone silo who do a tick-box report which doesn't convey the nuances that you'd expect. I had a similar experience with an assessment done on a student of mine with Asperger's who was deemed too much of a health and safety risk for work experience, even though he was a lovely, lovely lad who had never caused a moment's concern in school and who was absolutely no greater risk than any teenager - in fact, probably less.

thisnameisalreadyinuse Fri 24-Aug-12 15:05:06

Raging, at some universities they seem to set aside 'quiet floors' in campus accommodation, I think for postgrad students, but it sounds as though this might be right for ds? (actually I say 'some', am only aware of one, but suspect there are probably more).
If this university has quiet floors would it be worth enquiring whether a room there is available - and get the disability team to support ds's application for one?

FallenCaryatid Fri 24-Aug-12 15:10:05

'He also says that he gets complaints from parents of other students if he places SN students with their sons/daughters because the inference is that the other students end up responsible for the SN one!! '

The head of accommodation is being completely unreasonable and disablist. Your son's SN will not impact on other students in any way, does he also get complaints from parents where paralytic students are sharing accommodation with more sensible ones, vomit everywhere and need letting in at stupid o'clock every week?
Or troll children who leave the shared areas in an unacceptable stare of biohazard?
I'd be yelling at the disability team to sort that shit out, it is their function and purpose. Plus I'd complain further up the ladder about the accommodation officer's attitude. I wouldn't bother telling DS I'd done it.

FallenCaryatid Fri 24-Aug-12 15:14:52

Sorry, DD had to share a flat in halls with several piss artists who didn't wash up and came home in the wee hours too drunk to get the key in the lock, so they'd just hammer and screech until she woke up and let them in. Then worried about them choking on their own vomit and taking care of them.
I'd have let them sleep in their own puke on the stairs myself, but she's a nicer human being.

RagingDull Fri 24-Aug-12 15:16:01

i asked about quiet floors and was told not at this uni.....

the "on campus" accommodation is vile anyway - large breezeblock buidlings housing 6 students - very shoddy and very expensive, all the windows had beer bottles lined up - seems to be the "in" thing.....he would not fit there thats for sure. He does not drink, he lives in his room. more importantly he has stated he does not want to be on campus with the first years....

the off campus that he had asked for was actually closer to the uni than the off campus....also only housed 4 students per flat. much nicer.

he has AS, and dyspraxia, also dyslexia - but he also is not typcial - he was not what the disability team were expecting at all.

i have spoken to the accommodation manager and tried to explain all of this....not sure how well i did at getting the message across though. He is not going to be a liability to him. thats my job.

FallenCaryatid Fri 24-Aug-12 15:17:40

' but he also is not typcial - he was not what the disability team were expecting at all.'

Then they need to up their game and meet his needs if they are worth the pay.

RagingDull Fri 24-Aug-12 15:19:38

thats my worry fallen - and i was absolutely shocked at the accommodation managers attitude too - i get the feeling that what ever he does now will be for his own benefit and not my sons.

the problem is this guy is held up as the top dog for accommodation - i rang the disability team back but they didnt seem too bothered.....the manager is back on Tuesday so ill try again then.

thisnameisalreadyinuse Fri 24-Aug-12 15:20:57

Hmm, if they don't have anything called 'quiet floors', do they have designated post grad accom, or accom specially for mature students/or even students with families? Either sounds as though they might be more suitable for your ds if the accom manager would allocate that to him?

Sleepysand Fri 24-Aug-12 15:23:47

Really, go to the union welfare people. As has been said, the attitude stinks. Suppose they said similarly prejudiced things about women ("the boys would be fed up of having to open jars and change plugs for them") or men ("the girls hate having to sew on their buttons and wash up for them") or Asians ("their flat mates get fed up of the smell of curry") - we would all be outraged. The welfare people will coordinate things and will find an easier way to go up the food chain.

RagingDull Fri 24-Aug-12 15:53:00

ive just phoned the disability team back up and said that while i realised the accom manager carries alot of clout i thought he had a bit of a disablist attitude and i would not want him to place my ds on a pre-conceived idea - the disability team have met DS - the accom manager has not. Their manager is going to call me next week but the girl i spoke to is going to put it all into an email to her first.

also asked DS who he would phone in case of any problems and he said that would be me.

so. will wait for the call.

FallenCaryatid Fri 24-Aug-12 15:56:07

Are you going to back up the call with an email?
You could thank them for their willingness to be proactive about reasonable accommodation, whilst setting out your concerns and starting a paper trail of evidence. If the Accommodation officer had emailed me with those comments, they'd be printed, highlighted and in my file.

Turquoisecat Fri 24-Aug-12 16:08:02

I agree with questioning the attitude and advice from the Acc. Manager, and getting EVERYTHING in writing from him (including the plan for 'keeping an eye on him' - I would bet you £10k that the Acc Manager NEVER sees any students).

I work in a University, and although there are many many well trained staff, not all staff are in the correct job role (trying to be diplomatic). The head of all administration for any University is the Registrar, and I would suggest that you contact them if you don't get any sensible outcome from the Acc. Manager.

RagingDull Fri 24-Aug-12 16:08:41

could be a plan, do you mean back it up with an email to the disability team?

or the accommodation team? i will have to just watch my mouth....i tend to type without brain engaged.

the accommodation manager didnt email me....he phoned me to be a disablist twazzock.....

FallenCaryatid Fri 24-Aug-12 16:16:46

Yup, I'd back it up with an email to the disability team, reminding them of the discussions you had with them previously, repeating what the AM had told you about his reasons for wanting your DS on campus, including his comments that display his attitude to students with SN, and thanking the disability team for their willingness to get involved with resolving these unexpected barriers to your son completing his third year.
Be polite, appreciative and friendly, and very aware that if it gets nasty, the written word and responses are your ammunition. The more you have, the bigger the hole you can dynamite. Phone calls are deniable unless you have a warrant and record them. grin

RagingDull Fri 24-Aug-12 16:20:40

bugger. i should have got a warrant first grin

cheers fallen - thats great advice. ill compose an email after dinner, sit on it a bit to make sure the tone is suitably polite then post and await the response.....
thank you.

FallenCaryatid Fri 24-Aug-12 16:21:40

grin <goblin fangs to bite people in the arse>

RagingDull Fri 24-Aug-12 16:23:11

....and when does this get easier? im sure its supposed to get simpler at some stage....i keep telling myself that at any rate - it gets me through the day without wine

FallenCaryatid Fri 24-Aug-12 16:25:24

ummmm...
You know what's happening with my DD, so I have no answers. smile

RagingDull Fri 24-Aug-12 16:56:56

i know. snap. you get one sorted and then 'booshka'......at least its happening in tandem....so far.
my brain would explode if it all happened at the same time. there was a thread on here asking if drinking a full bottle of wine was really bad.....

i remained suitably quite smile
DH says i need to go to work as its the only thing that stops me drinking.....thats not good is it.....blush

hope you get sorted fallen and things work out for DD....fingers crossed for you and her....

drcrab Fri 24-Aug-12 23:56:01

I would cc his tutor on his course or the head of his department/school in it. If your DS doesn't do well and you can demonstrate that it was due to accommodation office's screw up then the university will be in a bad position.

We had issues with postgrad accommodation previously and as programme directors we waded in and had chats with accommodation people etc.

Good luck.

sashh Sat 25-Aug-12 05:05:15

The accomodation manager is actively discriminating against your son because of his disability (ies).

Write to the disability team and say that. Tell them that they have a legal obligation under the equality duty to accomodate your son according to his needs not the biased opinion of an idiot (OK you might not want to be that blunt). BTW the accomodation manager should not be discussing an adult's bussiness with you You obviously went to the disabiliy people as a unit so it is OK for them to talk to you but if ds didn't give permission for others to discuss his needs he is breaching data protection.

Tell them your son needs quiet accomodation with a) final year students of b) postgraduate research students or c) mature students.

Tell them you expect them to do this and if they do not they are breaking a number of laws and you will be taking legal action.

Send a copy gto the dean. Then make an appointment to meet the dean. with your son.

Good luck, take no shit.

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