Accessible rooms & pre-allocation

Information about the room pre-allocation process

The Disabled Students’ Campaign are aware that there is a general lack of knowledge about how room pre-allocation works among students who don’t use it, which can lead to a misconception that the process is an unfair shortcut to a nice room. As some colleges are reballoting or reassigning rooms at the moment, we are aware that these misconceptions are coming to the surface for many people right now. Read on for clarification on three main points:

  1. No student can fabricate an unsubstantiated excuse for pre-allocation. Students must have medical or access reasons that are checked e.g. by the Nurse and Student Services (and often by the Disability Resource Centre) before they are granted a room. Rest assured that the system can’t be abused by students who want to skip the ballot.
  2. Rooms are still being pre-allocated now as some students missed pre-allocation deadlines due to circumstances beyond their control – from looking after family affected by COVID, to only recently being diagnosed with a health condition that requires isolation. College has a duty of care toward students and can’t dismiss student needs simply because they missed an earlier deadline.
  3. Some of the ‘nicer’ rooms are pre-allocated because they are the only ones with all the necessary access or self-isolation features. For example, COVID high-risk students are advised to occupy a single household (which are often single sets with en-suites). Furthermore, ground-floor rooms are often pre-allocated because students may also have mobility/fatigue issues with stairs. Another common example: students with eyesight issues need rooms with better lighting – which are frequently the ‘nicer’ and largest rooms in a College. The reasons why a student may need a certain type of room are extensive and go far beyond what is mentioned here, but all must be backed up by evidence and reasoning.

Please talk to Student Services or your Access, Mental Health or Disabilities officer for more information. We understand students’ frustrations with the unprecedented extent of room pre-allocation this year, but remember that students who use pre-allocation should not be blamed for using it. Limited accessible room provision is not their choice or their fault. Students who need accessible rooms, please feel able to request the room you need and not feel guilty or pressured – your physical and mental health need to come first!

A note to students who have missed deadlines but need a pre-allocated room due to medical or accessibility reasons: please get in touch with your Tutor, College nurse, DRC mentor, Cambridge SU Disabled Students Officer (Rensa Gaunt), or relevant JCR officers if you need any advice in applying for pre-allocation. Colleges also legally have to reduce your rent down to the ‘standard’ rate if your access needs make the room more expensive (many colleges are initially reluctant to do this but the DSC is happy to remind them that it has been their legal duty since 2016).

Best wishes and stay safe,

Cambridge SU Disabled Students’ Campaign, DSC committee and your DSOs

Contact info:

Student community Facebook group

Committee members info and emails, whole-exec email

Campaign Twitter page, Facebook page

Cambridge SU DSO: email, Twitter, Facebook

Accessible rooms & pre-allocation

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