Many students of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) were in uproar after failed to secure accommodation on campus for the upcoming academic year, and were forced to vacate their current rooms within two weeks notice, despite some are international students who have no residential place in Singapore.
TOC received an email from a second-year student at NTU on Thursday (1 July), who claimed that the NTU released its hall allocation results at 2am on Thursday, forcing many students – including international students – to evict themselves on the grounds of reserving rooms for COVID-19 isolation.
“This has resulted in outrage among many as there has been no transparency as to how hall rooms was allocated,” said the student.
The Singaporean student shared that he has no home because neither of his family in Singapore owns a property.
“I am also living with mental illness and is on three different psychiatric drugs to live a normal life. Having a hall accommodation is an important form of accessibility in order for me to go to school,” he said, adding that he has contacted the relevant department to get assistance.
The student also noted that many have been pushing for more transparency in hall allocation prior to the COVID-19 and called for better preventive measures to prevent sexual assault cases, among others.
“All of these systemic shortcomings became worse during COVID and the institution are not doing a good job in addressing them,” he added.
According to the NTU’s website, all undergraduates are guaranteed a residential place on campus in the first two years of study.
It was also reported earlier that some students, especially those living in campus, have been selected for the COVID-19 vaccination.
NTU in an email has advised the students who do not have a local residence arrange alternative accommodation themselves and provided the contacts of three off-campus housing options – students are directed to use third-party platforms like Agoda, Booking and Trivago – as reported by Mothership.
Students were told to vacate their rooms by 15 July, whilst those who fail to do so will be charged for overstaying. Belongings not cleared in time will also be removed so that the university can prepare for the new resident of the room.
Meanwhile, a petition has been launched to call for the NTU and the Housing Auxiliary Service to reconsider the “thousands of students” impacted by the hall allocation results, and to consider the welfare of those who are returning the following academic year.
The petition has garnered over 3,870 signatories at the time of writing.
Several international students wrote in the comments section of the petition, saying it “absolutely ridiculous” for the campus not to provide housing allocation for international students who do not have a residential place in Singapore.
One student wrote: “I am literally an international student with no home here, haven’t seen my family in nearly 2 years. Can’t go home to see family, being robbed of my home here too? Eviction notice even have the audacity to tell us to book backpacking hostels via trivago. Ridiculous.”
One parent wrote that her son will be homeless in a couple of weeks with no preparation at all.
“In this case, we are regret to say we are really disappointed to the decision emailed 1 am in the morning asked the international students out from halls,” said the parent.
Another parent wrote: “I am upset at the inconsiderate treatment of NTU students, especially the international ones. Only 2 week notice given and you want to kick them out? How heartless can a higher learning institution be? And in a stressful time like this, during a pandemic.”
Some students commented that the NTU has even delayed the results of hall allocation without giving any notice or updates. It was noted that the results were initially scheduled to be released on 14 June.
“A last minute notification of our hall application being rejected has greatly inconvenienced us, especially those who registered for morning classes while staying far from campus. Evicting internationals with a 2 week notice is just cruel,” said the student.
In an update on Instagram, NTU Student Union said it is working with the university’s management on the housing arrangements and pledged to help those who are most affected, especially international students residing on campus.
“While the details are being confirmed, international students who have been asked to vacate their residential halls will not be required to do so in the meantime,” it stated.