Tuition fee rise ‘fuels increase in yobbish behaviour’ among Oxford students

Residents say the new intake of students this autumn at Oxford Brookes University has sparked the worst noise and anti-social behaviour for years.

Many have complained about drunken, slurring students being sick and urinating outside their houses, and couples sneaking into gardens to have sex.

The University confirmed there had been at least 45 complaints in the first five weeks of term.

According to Ivon Asquith, of the Divinity Road Area Residents Association, the decline in behaviour is down to students feeling more like customers than pupils because of the hike in fees.

In September 2012, universities in England raised tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000 per year.

Mr Asquith also claimed that universities were fearful of losing students, and a subsequent loss of funds, so were less likely to discipline them.

He said: “I have met several people, including some people at Brookes, who think that the higher fees make some students feel more like customers rather than pupils.

“At the same time, universities don’t want to lose students who are paying them £9,000 a year, making universities more inhibited about disciplining them.

“The start of this new academic year is the worst I can remember. Some residents are becoming very angry.

“It is clear Brookes needs to change its disciplinary framework for handling student misconduct. At present there do not seem to be effective sanctions to deter bad behaviour.”

One resident, who asked not to be named, said “The students’ behaviour this year is appalling.

“There is no weekend night that goes by without something unpleasant happening right outside our doorsteps.”

Now Oxford Brookes University has vowed to bring in a tough new code of conduct which will see the class of 2013 fined, handed community service orders and even evicted from the halls of residence if they don’t stop their poor behaviour.

The university is to meet residents’ representatives and has vowed it will get on top of the problem to preserve the good name of Brookes.

Dr Anne Gwinnett, Brookes’ director of corporate affairs, said “There has been an increase in incidents of poor behaviour in the community and we know some of it is down to our students.

“We have seen a shift in student behaviour in the wrong direction.

“We need to get underneath why it is worse this year.”

Dr Gwinnett said she knew of 45 complaints in the first five weeks and feared Brookes students themselves were among the victims.

“The vast majority of students want to work hard and get full value from their education. They don’t want to be kept up at 5am either,” she said.

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