BM81: Resolution on cases of appalling conditions in universities dormitories
Every student who does not have permanent housing at the location of the educational institution has the right to live in the dormitory of this educational institution. This is stated in the Order of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.On approval of the Regulations on the peculiarities of the use of dormitories of institutions of professional higher and higher education.
This Order also defines a number of rights and responsibilities of dormitory residents and provides for the right of an educational institution to develop its own regulations on the use of dormitories (hereinafter- the Regulations on the use of dormitories), which are approved by the head of the educational institution in agreement with student government.
Violations of the rights explained in the following paragraphs by the dormitory administration have been recorded in Ukrainian universities, and a large number of complaints have been received from students living in dormitories about violations of their housing rights.
In particular, the Regulations stipulate that the administration of the dormitory of the educational institution is obliged to provide appropriate conditions for living, independent work, recreation, physical culture and sports, as well as compliance with relevant sanitary and hygienic norms and rules, maintenance, and overhaul of premises and equipment, as well as to create conditions for the use of dormitories for people with special needs and less mobile groups.
Proper conditions are defined as safe conditions. There are many dormitories of Ukrainian universities in which old Soviet tiles on the facade of the building or old balconies fall directly on the heads of students. Such conditions do not meet safety requirements.
According to the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine “On approval of the Model Regulations on the use of dormitories” the administration of the dormitory is obliged to provide, at its own expense, current and major repairs of the dormitory of leased (rented) residential premises and repair of privately-owned residential premises. However, this rule is implemented in practice only in a few dormitories.
Before settling, students are faced with the necessity to make repairs, buy certain things for repairs, such as wallpaper, glue, furniture, and tools. Moreover, residents often have to change windows and doors at their own expense, as this is a security issue and one of the key factors for a comfortable stay.
On the other hand, a separate problem is the condition of shower rooms and bathrooms in dormitories since, many times, there are sanitary concerns and limited access to it. To improve the conditions of the shower rooms, students are forced to go through many bureaucratic procedures, often facing the reluctance of dormitory administrations to help improve conditions.
In some cases, the furniture bought by students moving out of the dormitories is appropriated by the administration of the dormitories to be used by future residents. The deterioration of such furniture forces students to repair it and buy new ones at their own expense.
A striking example of these appalling conditions can be found in the student dormitories at the National Aviation University. Students of the 11th dormitory of the National Aviation University have been publishing photos on social networks of premises that have not been repaired for 35 years. The 11th dormitory is located on Nizhynska Street in Kyiv, next to the university. The cost of living in it is 520 hryvnias per month, which, according to the administration, is cheaper than in other dormitories, but it is required to pay in advance the whole installment of 2,600 hryvnias at once for five months. For comparison, scholarships in Ukraine is 1300 UAH per month, but not all students receive them.
Students situated in dormitories are not guaranteed proper living conditions, which is a direct violation of their students’ rights. This situation is unacceptable, not only because of what it entails for individuals but also in comparison to the conditions at other European higher education institutions.
However, this is not the only violation of students’ rights regarding students’ housing at Ukrainian universities.
It is important to note that the administrative staff employed at the higher education institutions should never violate or endanger, in any way or form, students’ rights and freedoms (i.e. by entering students’ living quarters without notifying students, etc.). As these types of pressures, as well as students’ rights violations, occur often, students emphasize, more than ever, the need to resolve the stated issues through negotiations and agreements with the administrative staff.
According to the Order of the Ministry and the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers, residents of the dormitory of an educational institution have the right to unrestricted round-the-clock access to the dormitories, except as provided in the third section of paragraph VIII of section III of this Regulation. However, it is quite common for a security officer not to let students into their rooms, especially at night. In this case, the dormitory resident is forced to spend the night outside the dormitory or even on the street.
Based on the housing legislation of Ukraine, a dormitory room is considered to be housing belonging to a student for their period of study at an educational institution. Therefore, this legislation needs to be implemented and fully respected.
Cases of corruption among the dormitories’ administration are widespread at Ukrainian universities. Dormitory administration representatives have been known to take bribes for hosting people that have no rights to live in a dormitory, according to the documents. At the same time, students who rely on the students’ housing have no opportunity to enter it, as the vacancies are scarce.
The European Students Union supports the aspiration of Ukrainian students to have proper living conditions in Ukrainian dormitories, to which they are entitled to by law.
ESU appeals to the Verkhovna Rada, the Office of the President, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Education of Ukraine and urges the Ukrainian stakeholders:
- to improve living and sanitary conditions in all Ukrainian higher education institutions
- to develop unified living standards that will be guided by the administration of educational institutions.
The administration must carry out regular and constant repairs and improvements of the students’ living conditions, as well as to conduct the assessments of those conditions regularly and in cooperation with students, according to the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.