student hostels

PHOTO: Photo: 123RF/ Matej Kastelic

Students and parents have urged MPs to regulate universities’ halls of residence and introduce minimum standards for pastoral care.

They told the Education and Workforce Select Committee inquiry into student accommodation today that staff at some halls were poorly prepared to help students with sometimes harrowing situations.

The committee is considering pastoral care and residents’ rights in student accommodation following complaints about how some halls of residence handled last year’s national pandemic lockdown.

The government introduced an interim code of practice for pastoral care of domestic students following the death of student Mason Pendrous in a hall of residence in 2019. He would have turned 21 today.

Canterbury University student Miriam Lindsay said there was not enough support when students in her hall of residence in Christchurch needed it last year.

“I had a friend who had very severe mental health issues and was struggling being away from her family and I asked another RA (Resident Adviser) what sort of support can the hall provide and they weren’t even sure what they could do for her,” she said.