An embattled group of University of Hull students have said they feel like “high level criminals” after having their flats repeatedly searched by university security staff.
The students, living in the Westfield Court halls of residence in Cottingham Road, claimed they had been subject to multiple random searches conducted without their consent.
The university said they had been conducting patrols, but said they had been operating a “soft approach” towards them, with staff only accessing buildings and flats to conduct checks after a complaint was received.
They said the safety and wellbeing of staff and students had been the “top priority” since the start of the academic year in September.
But writing on the petition site change.org, the anonymous students wrote: “Ever since we arrived in September we have been subject to [being] harassed by security staff watching our every move and following us until we ‘break rules’ that we haven’t been made aware of.
“They follow us around the accommodation waiting to report us and speak to us like we are high level criminals. They do not respect and do not listen to us.”
They claimed security staff had repeatedly let themselves into different flats to perform “random searches”.
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“They come into flats in the middle of the night and go through kitchens and can access our locked rooms when we are in them,” they claimed.
“At no point do they give us any notice of this, which is defined in our contract.”
They said they were also concerned by the risk of Covid-19 infection from security staff going between different flats.
“Since the start of the academic year in September, additional patrols of our site services staff have been in place around our campus residences, between 8pm and 4am, to ensure students both understand and follow the Government guidance relating to Covid-19
“The University operates a soft approach to these patrols. Should a complaint be received from a resident about an unauthorised gathering, or noise levels, then staff will access buildings and flats to check on any activity.
“Staff do not access flats unless there is a reason to enter. If staff are accessing a flat for room checks or maintenance, we would give notice of this.
“University guidance has been regularly communicated with all of our students and staff. Recurring breaches of laws and guidelines will be dealt with appropriately on a case-by-case basis. This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all.”